Koizumi rejoins battle for reform

JAPAN - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has promised to forge ahead with painful reforms to revive the economy despite a sudden drop in his popularity.

Using a key policy speech to the Japanese lower house of parliament, Mr Koizumi said the reforms would "get into full swing this year".

Monday's speech came as newspaper opinion polls showed public support had dropped by more than 20% in one month.

The Japanese stock markets reacted unfavourably to the prime minister's performance -

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