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Home > Books & Journals > Book Review Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Book Review #10: June 12, 2001

"Princes of the Yen" by Richard A. Werner

Reviewed by Tetsuji Okazaki and Kozo Yamamura

with permission from Richard Werner

Title: Princes of the Yen
Author: Richard Werner
Publisher: Soshi-sha
Date/Time: May 14, 2001
Pages: Japanese text 382 pages (Hardcover)

Review by Tetsuji OKAZAKI, Professor of Economics, University of Tokyo

This is a controversial book and some readers might be critical to the views in it, but it is recommended for the following reasons. There are some famous books on the history of the Bank of Japan, but they were published in the 1960s, and therefore do not cover the period of the bubble and post-bubble economy. The special feature of Werner's book is that it is the first attempt to reassess the long-term history of the BOJ from contemporary perspectives. This book must attract attention of both researchers and practitioners.

Review by Kozo YAMAMURA, Professor of Japanese Studies, University of Washington

Superb. A gripping page turner - not expected of a book analyzing the reasons why Japan's 1990s had became a "lost" decade. The author is extremely well-versed in Japanese institutions, including their seen and unseen interdependence, and advances an analysis that Japan's decade long economic malaise is an outcome due substantively to a failure of the Bank of Japan to create credit; an analysis that must be read and critically evaluated by as many thinking Japanese as well as by the policy-makers.

This is a timely book, rich in historical insights and in enlivening characterizations of personae dramatis and the policy-making process of today. The author will convince all readers that the policy of the Bank of Japan played a major, if not the dominant, role in prolonging the deflationary recession plaguing the Japanese economy today.

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