Shinjiro Koizumi has long been cast as a future prime minister in the media and the public eye. Since entering the Diet in 2009, the son of popular former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has used his sense of style, his oratory skills and his penchant for speaking out against his home Liberal Democratic Party’s policies to build a strong support base.

Thus when Koizumi received his first minister-level posting in last month’s Cabinet reshuffle, most observers focused on it as an opportunity for a rising star to shine on a bigger stage. Fewer saw it for what it really was: a power play by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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