The Brookings Institution held the Trezise Symposium on the Japanese Economy on April 9, 2002. This daylong conference was held in memory of Philip Trezise, a former Foreign Service officer and long-time Brookings scholar who had been closely involved with economic matters concerning Japan during his career. The meeting was supported through generous donations from Citigroup and the Center for Global Partnership, plus individual contributions from Murray Belman, Ed Fried, Leonard Meeker, Henry Owen and the Trezise family. The meeting brought together a small group of American and Japanese specialists—academics, business people, and government officials—to consider what has gone wrong with the Japanese economy and possible solutions.
The Japanese economy has undergone a decade of very sluggish growth and for the third time in that period is in recession. This situation is unprecedented among industrialized nations in the past half century. The financial sector continues to sit on a mountain of bad loans and under-funded pension liabilities. The government has used both fiscal and monetary stimulus, without putting the economy back on a sustained growth path. Prime Minister Koizumi came into office in the spring of 2001 promising vigorous reform, but he has accomplished relatively little in his first nine months in office.
How did the Japanese economy end up in this mess? How serious are the various problems facing the economy at the present time? What has gone wrong with the financial sector? How can the government restore the economy to a healthy growth path? The conference covered these questions and more during a day of intense discussion.
Michael H. Armacost
Alan P. Larson
Edward J. Lincoln
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[Prime Minister Suga's visit to Washington] is a precious opportunity to boost his credentials as an adept steward of the U.S.-Japan alliance, at a time when domestic political support for his administration has dwindled.