After winning reelection as ruling party chief, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi revamped his Cabinet on Sept. 22 to create a dream team populated by reformers. The new Finance Minister, Sadakazu Tanigaki, says he won't support public-works spending, a favorite of pork-barrel politicians, to boost economic growth. Nobuteru Ishihara, a young turk pushing reform, will take over the influential Land, Infrastructure & Transport Ministry to privatize the money-wasting public highway system. And despite pressure from party conservatives, Koizumi retained bank reformer Heizo Takenaka as Economics Minister and Financial Services Agency chief. All this is bound to win Koizumi more support at a crucial time: Expectations are growing that he will call a snap election soon.

Edited by Rose Brady

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