Will There Still Be Real Reform In Japan?

Japanese bankers are breathing easier with a new man in charge. But can Michio Ochi do the job?

Japanese banking executives called it the reign of terror. It began when Hakuo Yanagisawa, 64, became Financial Reconstruction Minister in December last year. He and a small army of lawyers and accountants would grill Tokyo's patrician bank presidents relentlessly about the true state of their loan books and hectored endlessly about restructuring. And Yanagisawa was quick to break precedent and refer allegations of financial wrongdoing that his investigators turned up to prosecutors in Tokyo. "He had a very harsh stance toward us," complains one executive at a major Tokyo trust bank.

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