The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
For a large part of the past decade, Japan has witnessed a steady deterioration in the health of its banking system. This paper examines what went wrong and why it has taken so long for the system to recover. While the paper traces the roots of the crisis to accelerated deregulation and deepening of capital markets without an appropriate adjustment in the regulatory framework, it identifies weak corporate governance and regulatory forbearance as the two factors behind what might have been an unnecessary prolongation of the distress of the financial system.