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Handicapping

Here's a bit of good news from Japan:

TOKYO (Reuters) - In a sign his political gamble may pay off, public opinion polls showed on Wednesday that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's support rating has risen since he called good newsan election to seek a new mandate for reforms.

Koizumi called an election for Sept. 11 on Monday after 22 members of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the upper house to help defeat the government by voting against bills to privatize Japan's postal system, including its vast savings and insurance businesses.

About 46 percent of respondents in a poll by the daily Asahi Shimbun said they supported Koizumi, up from 41 percent in a poll last month.

Koizumi has been a great ally of this country - and his reform proposals are exactly what Japan needs to pull out of its decade-long slump. Here's to hoping the polls are right.