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Introduction

The ‘Galileo dissolution’ On 8 August 2005, following rejection of his postal privatization bills in the House of Councillors, Prime Minister Koizumi Junichirō dissolved the House of Representatives. For Koizumi, postal privatization constituted the centrepiece of his reform programme – the ‘inner citadel of reform’ (kaikaku no honmaru 改革 の本丸) as he also liked to call it – on which the fate of his administration hinged. Since the Diet had rejected his bills, he decided to dissolve its Lower House and place the question before the people.