Global Imbalances and Trends in Japan's Corporate Sector: An overview based on the savings-investment balance, etc.

Author Name GOTO Yasuo  (Consulting Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. May 2013 13-P-009
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The world economy plunged into a severe depression triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and remains confused. This paper provides a bird's eye view on global capital flows and trades, etc. in the long run, and reflects upon the situations of the Japanese corporate sector and the Japanese economy at the time, while keeping in mind of the context of the financial and economic crisis.

Typical hypotheses explaining the current crisis include the "global imbalances (GI)" hypothesis, which attributes it to excess liquidity and considers excess savings, such as that of China and other countries, as the main cause; and the "excess liquidity (EL)" hypothesis which blames the heavy monetary easing by countries such as the United States. Considering the global situation based on these hypotheses, it appears Japan was caught up in the crisis unwillingly rather than playing a major role. From the corporate sector's situation, higher export dependence was caused by an effective exchange rate rather than an intensified export drive. Also, regarding savings-investment balance, in the context of the reaction to the bubble economy, the effect of decreased investment was stronger than that of excess savings, indicating that the Japanese economy is following along with the GI hypothesis.

However, it is necessary to make a careful discernment since the area of overlap for both hypotheses is large. Japan should make efforts to assess the situation correctly from a neutral standpoint and speak out actively regarding the appropriate policies.