Koizumi, Rip Van Winkle and Japanese banks go back to sleep
Although Koizumi may initiate real corporate reform, bank shareholders are unlikely to prosper.
Rip Van Winkle1 spent his days avoiding work and his shrewish wife. Japan's politicians spent the 1990s steering clear of their festering bank problem.
After liberally drinking from a keg at a nine-pin mountain party, Rip fell asleep for 20 years. LDP officials, inebriated from the power of one party rule, slumbered for 10 years. Rip awoke to discover he was old with a long beard and unrecognized. LDP chiefs rose to find the bank problem had not magically disappeared, rather it had deteriorated.
Fortunately, Rip's daughter...