Japanese politics has been plunged in to turmoil with the news that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has dissolved the Diet (parliament) and called a snap election for 11 September following the defeat of the government's postal reform bill.
The bill was the centerpiece of Koizumi's economic reform package and the defeat came after 22 members of Koizumi's own Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) voted against the measure.
Japanese postal savings account for a quarter of Japan's personal assets. Japan Post has 25,000 post offices nationwide and over 260,000 employees.
The snap election looks certain to widen the already deep rifts within Japan's governing party which has held power virtually without interruption since the end of World War II.
The six bills Koizumi and his chief economic adviser Heizo Takenaka were hoping to pass would have seen the privatization of Japan Post by 2017 and split the giant state corporation into private companies handling postal services, banking and insurance.
Hotel Nishiyama and other accommodation in Kyoto
Monday, August 08, 2005