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How will people remember the Koizumi era?

by Thomasina Larkin

Masayoshi Nasu
Restaurant staff, 30
Koizumi should have behaved better. He’s been gossiped about a lot, for example, over Yasukuni Shrine. He did get young Japanese people more interested in politics though.

Hiromi Narita
Student, 19
When I think of Koizumi, I think of the time he said “Men become weak when women cry.” It was a bit sexist. But I think Koizumi did more good things for our country than bad.

Emily Daingerfield
Illustrator, 21
I remember seeing Bush and Koizumi shaking hands and laughing. That was upsetting because I think Japanese youths accept it without really knowing much about Bush or American politics.

Kenji Hayashi
Office worker, 34
I have no fond memories of Koizumi and I don’t think he did anything good for Japan. My strongest memory of him is how he worsened Japan’s relationship with the rest of Asia over Yasukuni Shrine.

Noriko Katagiri
Housewife, 31
Koizumi could communicate well with other world leaders. I think that’s one of the best things about him, though he didn’t listen to Japanese people’s concerns enough, like over the post office.

Don Dotto
Teacher, 34
The biggest memory I have is of him acting like a goof and acting like Elvis with Bush on his farewell tour. He decided to have one last fling with Bush and dropped his role as leader for a minute.

Naoko Nakamura
Housewife, 34
I’ll remember Koizumi for getting young people more interested in politics, but a strong negative memory will be his sending Japanese troops to Iraq. I don’t think it was a just war.