After defeating the old guard in his Liberal Democratic Party and winning the support of the Japanese public in yesterday's general election, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi could be forgiven for putting his feet up for a week or two. It is unlikely that he will, however, as he will be more aware than ever this morning that the sands of time are rapidly running out for his administration. Armed with a new mandate, he is likely to seek to secure his legacy with even more reforms. Mr Koizumi has repeatedly stated that he will not seek re-election as party president when his term runs out in September next year, so his final 12 months may see even more activity than the year before yesterday's historic vote. 'He will see this as the democratic mechanism giving him the right to push through with policies that he has already pitched, as well as more that he might yet come up with before he leaves office,' said Makoto Watanabe, a lecturer in media at Hokkaido University. 'All the new politicians that Mr. Koizumi has introduced - the 'assassins' who were given the task of ousting those that rebelled against his plans - will simply work as robots as most of them have very little experience of politics, meaning he will have centralised control. 'It will be easy for Mr Koizumi to handle everything for the next 12 months,' he said. 'I think he'll be a very happy man this evening.' Even before election day, rumours had begun circulating that Mr Koizumi, not content with forcing through his postal privatisation plans after September 11, might be planning the spectacularly unpopular move of raising the consumption tax ahead of his exit. With a huge national debt, the move is something that the Japanese government has considered. The suggestion is that Mr Koizumi may grasp that particular nettle in order to spare his successor the wrath of the electorate. 'There was a slip of the tongue by one of the senior cabinet members during the election during which he suggested that the consumption tax might be raised,' said Pema Gyalpo, a professor at Yokohama University, who added that the victory would pave the way for several other of Mr Koizumi's pet projects. 'The ruling party wants to change the constitution, so we may well see a formal committee set up to examine that, while I also believe that Mr Koizumi will feel he has the support of the majority to pay his respects at the Yasukuni Shrine again. He undoubtedly has the support of many of the people and will push his policies through, but I have noticed that he is mentioning many issues in passing in his speeches to the voters. I think he will see his election as an endorsement for all these policies. 'Sometimes he reminds me of Napoleon in George Orwell's Animal Farm,' he added. 'In the book, there were a series of rules, such as 'an animal shall not kill another animal', but slowly the words change. Mr Koizumi is changing his policies in that way.' The latter stages of Mr Koizumi's tenure will be overshadowed by the search for his successor, believes Professor Gyalpo, with three or four potential replacements already jockeying for position. Time is running short. Expect more from a newly emboldened Junichiro Koizumi.