The Ldp Saves Hosokawa

A sharp change of course by Japan's Liberal Democratic Party has given Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa a new lease on life. The LDP, which was ousted from power last summer, had bottled up Hosokawa's political reform bills has vowed to pass in the upper house. Now, the LDP says that it will let the legislation proceed and has muted its criticism of the Prime Minister for taking questionable loans. That gives Hosokawa a good shot at getting the bills passed by Jan. 29 as promised. If so, he would be a good bet to stay in office until new elections, which could be held anytime from this summer until 1995. In return for backing off, the LDP is likely to gain concessions that give added political clout to its rural strongholds.