Japan Has More Than Just a Yen Crisis

Disappointment over token efforts resulted in exactly what Japan didn’t want: an even stronger yen, which has gone from 85.2 to the greenback on Aug. 23 to 84.4 on Sept. 1. Suzuki Motor Chairman Osamu Suzuki, who has built a big export business for his company’s sturdy little cars, speaks for many when he says of the currency: “I spend every day feeling anxious about this.”

So do politicians in Tokyo. That they are at a loss to do anything about it has Japan suffering the same fate as Aesop’s boy who warned of crisis so often that no one took him seriously anymore.

As the dollar and euro slide, the yen rises by default. Rarely before has it been so difficult for Japan to control its currency. The yen’s jump to a 15-year high says much about where Japan finds itself in 2010. Here are three specific things to consider about Japan’s plight.

The currency crisis is merely one symptom of the country’s general aversion to change after the boom-and-bust 1980s

By William Pesek

It’s the economy that cried wolf.

With growth slowing, deflation deepening, and the yen inexplicably surging in late August, Japanese policymakers pledged bold action. Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa rushed home from Jackson Hole, Wyo., to deal with the emergency. Investors braced for aggressive intervention. The media mobilized on Aug. 30 to cover Prime Minister Naoto Kan unveiling a fat stimulus package to counter the export-crimping effects of a strong yen. Then—nothing. Leer más “Japan Has More Than Just a Yen Crisis”