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Japan's Koizumi Launches Election Campaign

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi launched his political campaign Saturday for the snap general election he has called on September 11.

The prime minister says the focal point of the election will be his proposal for privatization of Japan's national postal system, a sprawling business empire that includes savings institutions with three trillion dollars in assets.

Mr. Koizumi dissolved Parliament and called a general election about two weeks ago after Japan's upper house voted down postal reforms - with members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party joining the majority. LDP leaders have withdrawn support for lawmakers who voted "no" on August 8, and say they will not be allowed to run for re-election.

A Yomiuri newspaper poll this week shows support for Mr. Koizumi has risen to 53.2 percent, up 5.5 percentage points since he dissolved Parliament.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.