In This Review

The Ministry: How Japan's Most Powerful Institution Endangers World Markets
The Ministry: How Japan's Most Powerful Institution Endangers World Markets
By Peter Hartcher
Harvard Business School Press, 1998, 320 pp

This is the first full account in English of the Japanese Ministry of Finance -- the very powerful institution at the center of the Japanese government, which, according to the author, is responsible for the current crises in Japan's financial system. Hartcher is a highly respected financial journalist, and the critique is based on extensive research and interviews. There is a very good account of the expansion and collapse of the bubble economy. And the author makes a convincing case that the Japanese mof enjoys a greater concentration of powers, formal and informal, than any comparable body in any other industrialized democracy, that it has masterminded Japan's economic strategy in the postwar era, and that it is badly in need of reform.