Japan's new Prime Minister

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SCOTT JAGOW: Japan is also about to get a new Prime Minister. The country's ruling party has chosen Shinzo Abe as its leader and he's almost a shoo-in to win next week's parliamentary elections. Jocelyn Ford tells us what Abe is up against leading the world's second-largest economy.


JOCELYN FORD: Popular outgoing Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is given credit for reviving the economy. He shrunk government, and broke the stranglehold of vested interests.

Analysts expect Shinzo Abe to play a variation of the same theme. Professor Jeffrey Kingston of Temple University says that's welcome news for foreign investors.

JEFFREY KINGSTON: "Foreign investors shouldn't expect to see any backsliding on deregulation or improving regulation of financial services those things should keep going forward."

But Abe will be faced with some unpopular decisions, like raising taxes to support the aging society.

KINGSTON: "The real pressure will be from the surging in demand for social services. I think that he's going to be facing voters who are a lot more interested in better medical care, better care for the elderly."

Kingston says he's unlikely to do much on tax reform until after parliamentary elections next summer.

I'm Jocelyn Ford for Marketplace.

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