Saving Japan's Banks: Only Halfway There

The bureaucrats inside Japan's Finance Ministry have been putting out fires all summer, thanks to a string of recent financial collapses. Yet now there is reason to believe the shakiest pillar of the world financial system may not collapse after all. After years of dickering, the ministry finally has the outlines of a plan to use public money to manage future bank failures, consolidate weaker players, and even create a Resolution Trust-style vehicle to sell off assets of failed institutions. Rock-bottom interest rates, a stronger dollar and weaker yen, and a new $135 billion economic stimulus package are helping, too.

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