Banking in Japan

I do apologize for those of you who don’t care too much about the situation in Japan with their banks and the bad loans. It seems as if there’s been a focus on this in my weblog recently. Part of this is because it’s the main news story from Japan that I’m interested in. (The news surrounding North Korea is equally compelling but I don’t have as strong of an opinion on it.)
The New York Times has really been one of the best sources for news from Japan recently, especially since so many news sources have closed their Japan bureaus. James Brooke & Ken Belson of the NY Times cover Japan excellently and I’m grateful for their work. Today is another example of great coverage:
NY Times – Japan’s Sick Banking System Resists Therapy
Japan is not the only country where bank lending is driven by policy imperatives and cronyism. In China, sour loans, many made on government orders to keep huge former state-owned businesses open and people employed, are said to be worth about half the country’s gross domestic product Û twice as much as in Japan. In Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand, the relationship between banks and their lenders is similarly muddy.
But for the sheer value of bad loans, no country tops Japan. And as deflation persists and the economy deteriorates, bad loans are still accumulating faster than the banks can write them off.

NY Times – Japan’s ‘Zombie’ Businesses Live On
“Daiei is a corporate revitalization problem, and that is really a human capital problem,” Robert H. Dugger, managing director of the Tudor Investment Corporation, said on a visit here. “In Japan, there are 500 to 600 professional turnaround managers. In the United States, there are 10,000 to 12,000.”
NY Times – Op-Ed – Would Reform Ruin Japan?