A lot of people seem to be convinced that Shinjiro Koizumi will someday be prime minister of Japan. He’s got everything going for him — pedigree, good looks, proper manners. His youth is a plus rather than a minus, probably because he’s developed an understanding of his place in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and how to leverage it. The announcement of his engagement to popular newscaster Christel Takigawa on Aug. 7 in front of the Prime Minister’s Office was, as the Asahi Shimbun pointed out, the kind of “theater” his father, Junichiro, was noted for when he was prime minister.

But while coverage of the engagement announcement was mostly cause for felicitations, the media has never really warmed to Koizumi Jr. The Asahi Shimbun’s report focused on how well-planned the announcement was. It was intended to look spontaneous, but every detail had been worked out so that it would be covered live by the afternoon TV “wide shows.”

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