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Japan Sinking Fast
-- January 10, 2002

"By the end of March, we will have a financial crisis -- that is 100% true."
-- Yoichi Mazuzoe, influential ruling-party legislator

"It's quite possible that Japanese institutions will fail. If a chain reaction of withdrawals occurs, like sea waves, it is highly likely to shake the financial system."
-- Governor of the Bank of Japan, Masaru Hayami

"Japan's deflation and debt crisis now constitute systemic risk to the global economy."
-- Study released last week by American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

For the better part of a decade, recession has gripped Japan's economy. Now, it looks as if an economic depression is inevitable.

Japan's banks are teetering on the edge of destruction. According to the AEI's Institute for Public Policy Research, Japan's banks have a NEGATIVE net worth of $1 TRILLION! And yet, the banks continue to dole out huge loans to failing companies. At the same time, they are facing what could be a record number of withdrawals as the Japanese government implements deposit insurance reform.

Currently, depositors in Japan's banks have unlimited insurance protection from the government. On April 1, the government will switch over to a system more like FDIC insurance in the US -- insurance will be limited to accounts with less than 10 million yen (or approximately $75,000). Tens of billions of dollars could exit Japan as worried account holders flee with their cash.

Very soon, banks themselves will need a handout to stay afloat. And they will very likely find themselves empty-handed. As financial institutions in Japan implode, all of the companies they've been propping up will fold as well.

Japan is the world's second largest economy. When it collapses, there is no force on Earth than can hold up the US or Europe. So stay tuned.

related article: Merrill Cutbacks Are Bad News for Japanese Economy
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