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Stavros Niarchos Foundation Lecture

The True Story of Japan's Structural Reform

Sixth Annual Niarchos Lecture

Heizo Takenaka, Keio University and Global Security Research Institute

Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC

May 9, 2007


Summary

Heizo Takenaka delivered the Peterson Institute's sixth annual Niarchos Lecture May 9, 2007, addressing the topic of his new book "The True Story of Japan's Structural Reform." Takenaka spearheaded the domestic financial and economic reforms of the Koizumi Government in Japan throughout its five years in office from 2001 until late 2006. In his lecture, he described how it was possible to carry out these fundamental reforms after Japan had resisted change for such a prolonged period of time. He also outlined the prospects for future reform in Japan.

During the Koizumi period, Takenaka held four different cabinet positions. He was initially minister for economic and fiscal policy as well as minister for financial services, in which capacity he engineered the reforms of the banking system that enabled Japan to emerge from its "lost decade" and begin the expansion that has now entered its record sixth year. He was also minister of internal affairs and communications and minister for privatization of the postal services.

Since leaving the government in late 2006, Takenaka has resumed his responsibilities as professor of economics at Keio University and director of the Global Security Research Institute at Keio. He was previously a visiting professor at Harvard and a visiting fellow at the Institute for International Economics.

The Niarchos Lecture is the Institute's signature annual event. Its previous presentations have been made by Alan Greenspan, Ernesto Zedillo, Lawrence Summers, Long Yong-tu, and Mario Monti. These events are made possible by a generous grant from the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation, whose support enables the Institute to present a major program each year on a topic of central concern to the US and international policy communities.