Japan votes for a reformer
I'm not particularly conversant with Japanese politics, but this seems like an important story. Japanese voters answered the call of Prime Minister Koizumi with a strong vote to return him to power on a platform of reforming and streamlining the Japanese government to deal with the next few decades of change there.
By returning Koizumi to power (which looks on the surface like "no change"), the Japanese people are voting for enormous change, at least potentially. Koizumi has plans to scale down government by privatizing the post office and insurance industry, as well as changing the pension system.
Looks like the Japanese are encountering something similar to what Europe is facing as the population ages over the next few decades. Many Europeans seem to be more or less in denial, not wanting to abandon their free lunches, but Japan seems to be trying to tackle the problem head on.
It's also a vote for a Bush supporter in foreign policy:
The win would keep a staunch ally of President Bush in power. Koizumi is expected to stand by his dispatch of troops to support the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq over opposition objections, and he strongly supports the continued presence of 50,000 U.S. military personnel in Japan. Tokyo also is a U.S. negotiating partner in efforts to disarm North Korea of its nuclear weapons.
Koizumi has his work cut out for him, especially in the economic sphere. I wish him the best of luck; he'll need it.