Maybe it is because we are in "the biz," but lately it seems that we've been hearing a lot of analogies thrown around comparing the credit crunch with Japan's banking (and general) crisis. There almost is an undertone of smug amusement to the entire thing. Trust the New York Times to press that angle not too long ago:
While European and American financial titans have teetered and collapsed, Japan's giant banking groups have stood relatively unscathed. The growing global credit crisis, which threatens companies and consumers elsewhere, has yet to appear here, where the problem for years has been that the nation's banks have too much cash, not too little. And while the United States Federal Reserve seems to be shoring up the entire American financial sector, the last time this central bank intervened in markets, it did so in dollars instead of yen -- to help international markets.
Indeed, television news gives the current upheaval, known here as "Lehman Shock," less coverage than more domestic issues like an approaching typhoon and a scandal over tainted rice. Even in the race for prime minister, the financial crisis has emerged as just one of a dozen issues and usually not the top one.
We prefer the "here's what we learned" articles on Japan's crisis, along with the occasional scholarly paper or two.
The Wall Street Journal mentions one, but, in a stroke of journalistic brilliance, doesn't cite it. That, however, leads us to another from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (who else?) which has a decent list of sources on the topic.
Conclusions are somewhat predictable: Unlimited insurance, delays in grasping the nettles, political shenanigans all will doom us to decade long stagnation. Congress is well on its way.