Table: Koizumi's Platform...and How He Could Fare

-- Push the banks to call in bad loans

-- Spend $30 billion to expand jobless benefits

-- Cap government spending and gradually wind it down

-- Target inefficiencies in Japan's shoddy pension system

-- End government oversight of $2 trillion postal savings system

-- Have prime ministers directly elected by the voters, rather than party bosses

Possible Outcomes:

Flash in the pan

Koizumi forms a credible Cabinet but then meets fierce factional resistance to a tough workout on the banks. He goes along with another big spending plan. The LDP suffers huge losses in the Upper House election, and Koizumi is forced to resign in August.

Fatal factionalism

He puts together enough credible policies to pull the party through July's election, but then outlives his usefulness to LDP elders. The opposition can't muster the support for a no-confidence vote, and conservative factions oust him in September during the next party race.

Koizumi prevails

His government pushes through critical legislation, forges links with like-minded opposition parties, and readies the public for a recession in exchange for better days ahead. The Bank of Japan boosts the money supply further, the markets rally, and a real recovery gets under way.

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