October continued what September started with the global financial meltdown, as it’s now being widely called, spreading even further afield. The big news in Japan being the Japanese megabanks, such as Nomura and Mitsubishi UFJ Group (MUFG), buying into Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley respectively. Also the Tokyo Stock Exchange continued to make headlines around the world, fluctuating wildly, mainly in the downward direction. The TSE saw its worst week ever, which was followed by a record 14 percent gain which was then followed by an 11.9 percent drop (the worst one-day drop since October 1987). Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano announced plans for a second economic stimulus package to help out households hurt by the economic downturn while Prime Minister Taro Aso’s cabinet approval rating dropped 3.6 percentage points to 45.9 percent.
This month J@pan Inc examines the buyouts by Nomura and MUFG with some insider accounts of what has been going on within the walls of Lehman Brothers and analysis of the Morgan Stanley deal. We also take a broader look at the situation as it continues to affect financial institutions, federal banks and, increasingly, the average person. Meanwhile, Jesper Koll writes that a direct comparison between the American banks now and the Japanese banks in the 1990s cannot be made, arguing that increased regulation and a nationalization of the US banking system will mean that we will see a much different scenario in the US over the next few years.
Also in this month’s issue we examine the IT scene in Japan with our cover story examining the history of Fusion Systems, a foreign company that has seen the industry evolve from essentially the pre-Internet days to the threshold of a Web revolution. Also within the IT special, writer Chris Salzberg talks to one of the bloggers who streamed the aftermath of the Akihabara massacre. Chris examines how the incident became a world-first case study into how new media is changing the face of news coverage. We also interviewed some of Tokyo’s most innovative web developers, including Zooomr wunderkind Kristopher Tate and Jig.jp’s Taisuke Fukuno, as they prepare to take on the world.
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