TOKYO — People here are not sure what to make of their new prime minister, but, so far, he is enjoying unprecedented popularity, with many hoping he'll prove to be a miracle worker. Junichiro Koizumi, 59, is a political maverick who confounded rivals in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) by leveraging public opinion to win a party election in late April. He succeeds the unpopular Yoshiro Mori as LDP president and prime minister. Koizumi's sweeping promises to cure the ills ...

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