For now, things appear to be fine.

He's said he will appoint possible successors and let them compete over who is the best reformer.

When I see that waterfront project as a taxpayer, I'm worried. But as an economist, I'm even more worried because I see capital being wasted in an economy where it will be very scarce reasonably soon. And that has something to do with how fast you can expect the (Japanese) economy to grow.

People lie because they need to present themselves as competent and worthy. Money is one key way people feel they are valued.

We have wasted an insane amount of money. Health care is being starved to keep the postal system, the roads and bridges around. In a country with a shrinking, aging population, this system is going to lower living standards.

With such a stunning result, passage of the postal reform bills is virtually assured. The next areas are medical reform, civil service reform, public sector outsourcing and government financial institution reform.

The anti-reform forces are splintered, giving PM Koizumi a freer hand.

As the semiconductor cycle goes through a rough spot, then clearly Japanese manufacturers will be affected. Their desire to build new capacity and plant will be affected -- and so it's clearly not a good thing for the Japanese economy.

The surplus will begin to moderate at some point relatively soon, partly because of some slowing in U.S. growth and partly because Japanese imports will begin to catch up a bit to the export surge.