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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek TIME ASIANOW
SEARCH    GO

New Stability?
The BJP gets a second chance at power
By YISHANE LEE

also:
More stories Below The Fold

October 8, 1999
Web posted at 2:15 p.m. Hong Kong time, 2:15 a.m. EDT


    DAILY BRIEFING
Of Environments and Economies
Tung Chee-hwa's policy address gets mixed reviews
- Thursday, Oct. 7, 1999

Annan with a Plan
The U.N. head wants to see East Timor fully independent in two to three years
- Wednesday, Oct. 6, 1999

Standoff
Pro-independence guerillas in East Timor refuse to disarm
- Tuesday, Oct. 5, 1999

Homeward Bound
The U.N. wins Jakarta's permission to repatriate East Timorese refugees
- Monday, Oct. 4, 1999

Meltdown
Japan's worst nuclear accident equal to an atomic bomb
- Friday, Oct. 1, 1999

Tradeoff
America won't budge on Chinese trade concessions in return for supporting China's WTO bid
- Thursday, Sept. 30, 1999

  ALSO IN ASIAWEEK
Intelligence
The story behind today's news from the editors of Asiaweek

  TIME ASIA
Asia Buzz
Daily commentary from the editors of TIME Asia

Market Q&A
Each business evening with analysts around the region

As exit polls had indicated, PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party and its National Democratic Alliance won a comfortable majority in India's parliamentary elections. Several regional papers led with his victory, predicted when voting ended Sunday. The Times of India reported in its lead story that Vajpayee has begun holding informal talks with the more than 20 parties in the NDA regarding ministry appointments. "But pulls and pressures and competing demands for key portfolios by the allies have already begun to bear upon the effort," the story said. The Hindu's lead story said the opposition, among them the Congress Party, are expected to exploit any internal NDA tensions. "All that these [opposition] leaders can hope for now is to wait for the proverbial contradictions in the NDA to emerge, starting with a possible bad blood over the choice of portfolios," the story said, adding that Congress, with its disappointing show under Sonia Gandhi, "could find itself internally preoccupied." The South China Morning Post's Jon Stock was less circumspect. Under a headline declaring "Pressure on Gandhi to quit after Congress drubbing," his story quoted a senior party leader as saying: "Her authority can now be challenged and she will find it difficult to keep everyone together." Vajpayee's win is widely interpreted as giving India a rare chance at stability, and the Bombay stock market rose on the election results, according to a separate Times of India story.

The Asian Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Karp said the second biggest winner in India was "unusual grassroots politician" N. Chandrababu Naidu and his Telugu Desam Party in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Karp wrote that Naidu's party could emerge as second only to the BJP in the ruling coalition, demonstrating how regional politics can affect the national picture and how economic belt-tightening can still win votes. Still, Naidu was cagey about his next move. The Times of India said the BJP had invited the TGP to join the coalition government but that Naidu "remained noncommittal," a reticence that the Hindu characterized as "stonewalling."

Japan's nuclear accident last week seems to be worse than expected, reported Kathryn Tolbert of the Washington Post. The government admitted that it is likely to raise the JCO Co. uranium-processing plant accident rating on an international scale to the same as that given the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear-power plant catastrophe. "Such a move would indicate they believe the risk of contamination outside the plant was extensive," Tolbert wrote. The AWSJ went further in its two front-page stories and concluded that "the enormous pressure JCO felt to cut costs and compete with overseas rivals" was ultimately to blame. The Daily Yomiuri continued to follow the government's moves to investigate the accident with a story about how Japan's Science and Technology Agency plans to exactly re-create the nuclear fission chain reactions that occurred at the plant--presumably under safer conditions.

Two Australian Interfet soldiers injured in a shootout with pro-Indonesia militiamen Wednesday were flown to Darwin for medical care. Jakarta is questioning the U.N. peacekeeping force's account of what happened, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Armed forces spokesman Maj.-Gen. Sudrajat said, "I don't see it as an ambush" and that the attackers "were probably being chased and fought back," the SMH said. Indonesian state news agency Antara reported that the clash in Suai, near the border with West Timor, occurred when Interfet "showered a group of refugees with bullets as they were returning to their homes to pick up their remaining goods and food." The SCMP ran an Agence France-Presse story that said Interfet had sparred with armed men from "a feared militia that has committed a series of atrocities" called Mahidi, or Live or Die for Integration. Jakarta, meanwhile, is planning to launch its own inquiry of war crimes allegedly committed in East Timor, the AWSJ reported. The story described Jakarta's moves as "an attempt to steer a delicate course between antagonizing domestic sensitivities and mollifying international anger" about the violence following East Timor's vote for independence Aug. 30. It added that the U.N. has "suspended judgment" on Indonesia's decision.

Below the Fold

Enka on demand
Among the people viewing Japan's rapidly aging population as a potential cash cow is Origuchi Masahiro, onetime proprietor of trendy Tokyo disco Juliana's. The AWSJ's Ono Yumiko reported that Origuchi's professional "home helpers" aim to meet the increased demand for home health care. And Origuchi's career change isn't as startling as you might think, as he describes both nightclubbing and nursing as "service businesses." Though not alone in focusing his attentions on seniors -- stocks for nursing-related companies in Japan are as hot as U.S. Internet IPOs, Ono wrote -- he might be singular in the level of attention paid to the little details. Ono reported: "To bond with seniors with dementia, who tend to regress to their youth, [Origuchi] is considering having home helpers memorize pop songs from 50 years ago."


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