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Daisuke Kotegawa Warns West
of Self-Destruction of the Banking System

Sterling, Virginia
March 23, 2013

In his message to the Schiller Institute Conference, Japanese economist Daisuke Kotegawa warned the United States and Europe that their policies are destroying all confidence in the banking system — a "stupid" policy.

Kotegawa is currently the Research Director for the Canon Institute in Tokyo. He served as the Japanese Executive Director to the IMF from 2007-2010, and was a leading official at the Ministry of Finance for decades before that.

His message, slightly edited, follows:

In the USA and in Europe, they seem to have learned nothing from the crisis in the late 1990s — that is, how we should try to maintain confidence in the financial markets, and the difference between the regular kind of economic slowdown, and the crisis that was caused by the financial crash. As I have mentioned again and again, repeatedly, first countries must create three kinds of safety nets:

  1. Establish a mechanism to bail out financial institutions;

  2. Establish a system by which you can log the non-performing loans; and

  3. Establish a system whereby you can guarantee interbank lending, by the government.

But they have not actually put an action in place for the part about the resolution of non-performing loans, for, in order to dispose of all the non-performing loans, you have to conduct a very rigid examination of the balance sheets of each major bank by the government authorities, and make the results known to the public, and a kind of evaluation of the members of the boards of those financial institutions who were responsible for that kind of crisis. In the case of the European countries, as well as the USA, those kinds of very neutral, dependable financial examinations by the banking authorities have never been conducted, and the actual outcome of those examinations has never been made public. So without that kind of transparency, it is impossible to persuade all the participants in the market that all the financial institutions' authorities have been cleared.

It is of the utmost importance to guarantee a certain level of the amount of deposits for all depositors in the country. So, in most countries now, we have a certain ceiling under which all deposits would be protected during any kind of financial crisis. But what happened in Cyprus was completely opposite to this policy — they have been trying to introduce a system whereby depositors are also asked to lose part of their deposits. This will completely destroy the confidence in the financial system, and thereby aggravate the financial crisis.

So, I can't understand why people in Brussels should use this kind of stupid policy, which in everybody's eyes, at a glance, is a completely wrong policy to maintain the confidence in the financial system.

I hope that this kind of policy, which has been advised by Brussels, will be reversed as soon as possible, because this will have tremendous contagion effect to other countries in question.

That's my view. Thank you.