Solutions for Japan's economic problems: Implications for U.S.-Japan relations

From business leaders to the everyday tourist, everyone seems to wonder about the same thing about Japan: When will the economy finally get better? It's been more than a decade since this debate began, and although there are always sparks of promising economic figures here and there, in the end, the conclusion is that more can be done. That said, the Japanese economy bounced higher without fiscal stimulus last year, and many experts were quick to tout that all the painful structural reforms implemented over the past decade had finally paid off. But has it really? On June 21, 2004, the Center on Japanese Economy and Business of Columbia University and the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology of the University of Tokyo gathered academics, business leaders, and public officials in Tokyo to discuss the merits and mistakes of past, present, and future economic policies by the government and the Bank of Japan. The CJEB organized a supplementary follow-up symposium in New York on November 19, 2004, in conjunction with the Japan Society for the purpose of presenting the project's research results to a U.S. audience. Presenters included Takatoshi Ito, Professor at the Graduate School of Economics and Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo; David Weinstein, Carl S. Shoup Professor of the Japanese Economy, Department of Economics, Columbia University; Anil Kashyap, Edward Eagle Brown Professor of Economics and Finance, University of Chicago; Kenneth Kuttner, Danforth-Lewis Professor of Economics, Oberlin College; and Hugh Patrick, Director, Center on Japanese Economy and Business, and R. D. Calkins Professor of International Business Emeritus, Columbia Business School. Many of the speaker presentations made in New York were the same as those given in Tokyo, with the exception of Kenneth Kuttner's. This report highlights Professor Kuttner's presentation, along with discussions and question and answer sessions during the symposium. Additional support was provided by the Itoh Foundation, U.S.A., and the Japan-United States Friendship Commission.

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Center on Japanese Economy and Business
Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Columbia Business School
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June 15, 2011