By S. Javed Maswood (auth.)
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40 Interest rates were already hovering near zero and had failed to impact on consumption or investment decisions of consumers and corporations. However, in mid-August 2001, having previously rejected suggestions for managed inflation, the Bank of Japan agreed to inject additional liquidity into the Japanese economy to fuel inflation and end price deflation. It decided to increase its monthly purchase of government bonds and raised cash reserves available to the banking sector. The Bank of Japan, independent from the government, had been under sustained governmental pressure to play a constructive role and it ultimately succumbed to pressures to print money and fuel inflation.
2. However, there was no reason to be sanguine, because these offshore centres had on-lent to the rest of Asia and confronted collapsed property prices in their own markets. While the EU countries had lent more capital, Japanese banks were more vulnerable because of their smaller capital base. For the crisis countries, the principal worrisome aspect was that much of the increased bank lending in the couple of years before the crisis was short-term. 2 Source: OECD Economic Outlook, June 1998, p.
36 In a sense this recognition was forced upon the Japanese government by the Asian crisis and by increased international pressures to play a positive role in managing the crisis by reflating the economy and increasing Asian imports. Failure to deal with the domestic financial and banking crisis was a main reason for the prolonged economic stagnation in Japan. Bad debt impeded bank lending capacity, which in turn held back economic recovery; moreover, given very low interest rates, it was natural that depositors fled the banking sector for other safer and more rewarding institutions.