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Les ressorts de la crise financière majeure de 1997-98 au Japon : de la responsabilité du politique à l’action du superviseur

  • Cyrille Lacu
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    [fre] Cet article tente d’étudier les mécanismes qui sous-tendent l’accélération du processus de dégradation de la solvabilité des institutions financières japonaises, au cours de ce que l’on considère avoir été une crise de système majeure, entre l’automne 1997 et l’automne 1998. Le système bancaire et les mutuelles géantes de l’assurance-vie concentrent depuis l’éclatement de la bulle des déséquilibres financiers dont l’ampleur véritable commence à être perçue. Jusqu’au déchaînement de la crise, leur nature systémique est pourtant sous-estimée. Après huit années de dégradation, la règle de non-dit sur l’illiquidité et l’insolvabilité globale de ces deux piliers de l’épargne japonaise est révélée. Au premier trimestre 1998, le Japon sombre dans la déflation. Dans le processus qui a conduit à cette situation, l’inertie du politique est le noeud des tensions. En face, les réponses de la réglementation prudentielle et de la politique monétaire se comprennent comme des actions en dernier ressort, dont le seul objectif est d’assurer la continuité du système de paiement. La gestion désastreuse de la crise japonaise sur cette période a généré un aléa moral puissant sur les comportements des investisseurs institutionnels. Classification JEL : E32, G20, O53 [eng] The process of the 1997-98 major financial crisis in Japan : Politics responsability & the design of Financial Regulation under stress This paper is studying the solvency deterioration process of Japanese financial institutions during the major systemic crisis that occurred between summer 1997 and fall 1998. Since the bursting of the bubble economy, both banking system and giant mutual life insurance companies were struggling with huge losses in their balance sheet, that we are impossible to assess clearly. Destabilizing properties of those imbalances have been underestimated until the triggering of the crisis. After eight years of deterioration, their unconfessed state of global illiquidity and insolvency is suddenly revealed. Financial instability then reproduces fundamental uncertainty in real economic behaviors, to firms through a widespread credit crunch, and to households through threats of various nature on their savings. Risk adverse behaviors develop in a depressing economic environment, nourishing a vicious circle and leading Japan into deflation, from the first quarter 1998. In this destructive dynamics, Japanese political system sluggishness is the true nexus of all economic strains. Against this stress, both monetary policy and prudential regulation developments act as lenders of last resort, as their priority goal is then to back the threatened payment system. Calamitous financial crisis management by Japanese authorities generated concurrently moral hazard in financial institutions’ international portfolio management strategies. Consequences have been the yen/ dollar sliding until summer 1998 and destabilizing positions blowing up on US dollar financial markets. Those dangerous market disturbances were brought to the fore as yen quickly took of, also revealing weakness of our present international monetary system architecture. JEL Classification : E32, G20, O53

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    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue d'économie financière.

    Volume (Year): 56 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 77-125

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:recofi:ecofi_0987-3368_2000_num_56_1_3814
    Note: DOI:10.3406/ecofi.2000.3814
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    1. Patrice Geoffron & Marianne Rubinstein, 1997. "Restructuration financière au Japon : entre prêteur en dernier ressort et solidarités bancaires," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 43(5), pages 155-175.
    2. Franklin R. Edwards & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1995. "The decline of traditional banking: implications for financial stability and regulatory policy," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jul, pages 27-45.
    3. Takatoshi Ito & Yuri Nagataki Sasaki, 1998. "Impacts of the Basle Capital Standard on Japanese Banks' Behavior," Discussion Paper Series a356, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    4. Guttentag, Jack & Herring, Richard, 1984. " Credit Rationing and Financial Disorder," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(5), pages 1359-82, December.
    5. Anne Jansen & Donald J. Mathieson & Barry J. Eichengreen & Laura E. Kodres & Bankim Chadha & Sunil Sharma, 1998. "Hedge Funds and Financial Market Dynamics," IMF Occasional Papers 166, International Monetary Fund.
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