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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 Asia Now Asiaweek story

THE ASIAWEEK POWER 50

NUMBERS 14-19


14 Kumazaki Katsuhiko

15 Kim Jong Il

16 Idei Nobuyuki

17 Hashimoto Ryutaro

18 Robert Kuok Hock Nien

19 Lee Kuan Yew

14 Kumazaki Katsuhiko

CHIEF OF SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS, TOKYO DISTRICT PROSECUTORS' OFFICE

BORN Jan. 24, 1943, in Hagiwara, Gifu Pref., Japan

EDUCATION Meiji University, Tokyo

FAMILY Information unavailable

ADDRESS Tokyo District Public Prosecutors' Office, 1-1-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8903

POWER POINTS The gritty prosecutor, nicknamed "The Bear," shook the cozy government-business nexus at the heart of Japan Inc. His bribery probes brought numerous arrests, seven suicides and the resignations of Japan's finance minister and central bank governor. But he may have gone too far: Kumazaki was recently "promoted" to head a rural prosecutor's office.

15 Kim Jong Il

SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE WORKERS' PARTY OF KOREA

BORN Feb 16, 1942, in a "secret camp" in Mt. Paektu

EDUCATION Kim Il Sung University, Pyongyang

FAMILY Married, three daughters and one son

ADDRESS Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, Pyongyang, North Korea

POWER POINTS With the hermit state facing famine, "Dear Leader" has become an aggressive panhandler. His demands helped scuttle historic peace talks. Some fear he is diverting food aid meant for civilians to the military - underscoring how a hungry North Korea is all the more dangerous.

16 Idei Nobuyuki

PRESIDENT, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER AND CO-CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, SONY CORP.

BORN Nov. 21, l937, in Tokyo, Japan

EDUCATION Waseda University, Tokyo

FAMILY Married, one daughter

ADDRESS President's Room, Sony Corp., 6-7-35 Kita-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-0001, Japan

POWER POINTS The embodiment of Japan's business prowess, Idei is steering Sony toward a digital future where global giants dominate all forms of electronic entertainment. Under his guidance Sony introduced breakthrough products including digital cameras, PCs and the hit PlayStation video game system. He even brought a loss-making Hollywood studio subsidiary to heel and into the black with movies such as Men in Black. Idei's success brings clout to Sony. When his mentor, Sony Chairman Ohga Norio, in April warned that Japan's economy was on the verge of collapse and scolded the prime minister for sitting on his hands, global financial markets trembled and the government scrambled to react.

17 Hashimoto Ryutaro

PRIME MINISTER, JAPAN

BORN July 29, 1937, in Tokyo, Japan

EDUCATION Keio University, Tokyo

FAMILY Married, three daughters and two sons

ADDRESS Room 409, Daini Giin Kaikan, 2-1-2 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8982, Japan

POWER POINTS Once a symbol of the reform and resurgence of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Hashimoto helped make himself irrelevant by failing to live up to his own crusading image. He inadvisedly appointed a scandal-tainted political crony to a cabinet post last fall, and former underlings from his stint as finance minister are now charged with bribery. On fiscal matters, Hashimoto has been largely impotent both abroad and at home, where the domestic economy has slumped into a dangerous recession. He's likely to be replaced - except no one else seems to want to inherit his problems.

18 Robert Kuok Hock Nien

HOTEL, PROPERTY AND MEDIA TYCOON

BORN Oct. 6, 1923, in Johor Baru, Malaya

EDUCATION Raffles College, Singapore

FAMILY Married twice, eight children

ADDRESS Malayan Sugar Manufacturing Co., 18th Floor, Wisma Jerneh, 38 Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

POWER POINTS The dollar value of his holdings may have halved, but what's that to a multi-billionaire? With typical long-term vision, Kuok, one of Asia's best connected businessmen, is looking to buy. While handing more authority to the next generation, Kuok remains the man in charge, and he is using the tough times to train his successors.

19 Lee Kuan Yew

SENIOR MINISTER, SINGAPORE

BORN Sept 16, 1923, in Singapore

EDUCATION Cambridge University, law training at Middle Temple, Britain

FAMILY Married, two sons (including Deputy PM Lee Hsien Loong) and one daughter

ADDRESS Prime Minister's Office, Istana Annexe Singapore 238823

POWER POINTS Far from wilting amid the regional turmoil, the former Singapore leader and champion of Asian Values remains outspoken - and respected. Lee's blast at Suharto in February for not getting the political factor "right" drew Indonesians' ire but now looks prescient. The power of one of the few regional leaders to arrange a smooth succession is fading with age, but Lee's word is still Singapore's bottom line.

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