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Koizumi's Big Step

Hiromu Nonaka, the 77-year-old liberal democratic Party stalwart, was arguably the most powerful man in Japan. As a leader of the ruling party's largest faction, which controls 100 seats in Parliament, Nonaka was a political kingmaker. He pulled strings to sway government policies, banged heads to maintain internal order within the LDP, exploited allies who owed him favors in order to bring down political foes. He used all of his clout to stymie the reform efforts of his party rival, Prime...