This book examines the factors that accounted for Japan’s so-called “lost decade”—the period from 1991 to 2003 when the country experienced the most serious slowdown in economic growth. Using familiar economic tools, it documents the lost decade in the context of the financial crisis and global economic recession of 2008–2009, first discussing the similarities and differences between the economic collapse in Japan and the United States before turning to the evolution of asset prices, particularly stock prices, in Japan. The chapter then looks at the interplay between monetary policy and the exchange rate, the relationship between the nominal exchange rate and the real exchange rate, how financial integration with the rest of the world affected the Japanese economy, the effect of interest rates on consumption, the change in the Japanese employment system after 1997, the rise of part-time and temporary employment, the link between bank financing and firm performance during the 1990s, and the restructuring of publicly traded companies between 1981 and 2007.
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