The Japanese edition of Chief Economist, Richard A. Werner's first book, "Princes of the Yen" ("En no Shihaisha"), has attracted much attention. The book, which gives evidence of how the Japanese economy has been manipulated by its central bank, has received enthusiastic reviews by leading commentators in the print media and television. It became a No. 1 bestseller on all leading bestseller lists, reaching a print run of 140,000 books. As a result of the argument in the book, several well-known LDP politicians in Japan founded a new Central Bank Reform Research Group in 2001/02, which Richard advised.

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Book Synopsis

Reviews in the Japanese Press

Please read the following selected articles taken from the Japanese press, and further refer to our Press Room/Media Archive for more media coverage:

BOJ planned bubble, decade of misery, The Japan Times, July 27, 2001

Book exposes BoJ 'Rulers', The Asahi Shinbun, May 10, 2001

Reviews of "Princes of the Yen":

"Superb. A gripping page turner - not expected of a book analyzing the reasons why Japan's 1990s had become a 'lost' decade. The author is extremely well-versed in Japanese institutions, including their seen and unseen interdependence, and advances an analysis that Japan's decade long economic malaise is an outcome due substantively to a failure of the Bank of Japan to create credit; an analysis that must be read and critically evaluated by as many thinking Japanese as well as by the policy-makers.
This is a timely book, rich in historical insights and in enlivening characterizations of personae dramatis and the policy-making process of today. The author will convince all readers that the policy of the Bank of Japan played a major, if not the dominant, role in prolonging the deflationary recession plaguing the Japanese economy today."

Dr. Kozo Yamamura, Job and Gertrud Tamaki Professor of Japanese Studies, Professor of Asian Studies and Economics, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

"Packed full of interesting information and a good read into the bargain."

Prof. Ronald Dore, Professor Emeritus, London School of Economics, University of London

"I highly recommend this important book. While reviewing it, I became captivated by the story. The insight Mr. Werner brings to this important corner of global finance is intriguing and the implications of the Princes of the Yen are far-reaching and of relevance to all of us in business, finance and academia. They even invite another book, a sequel to the present one. Mr Werner is highly qualified to write this book. Written in a very readable and easily accessible style, it is logically compelling."

Dr. Hank Pruden, Professor of Finance, Golden Gate University, San Francisco

"This book is one which will keep any interested scholar, student, financial practitioner or 'veteran' of the Asian crisis, glued to the book late into the night, if not awake all night."

Dr Paul McNelis, Professor of Economics, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

There is a need for a fresh appraisal of Japan's economy. This is the best I have seen. It is also the most readable. Princes of the Yen will quickly become a seminal book in the area.

Dr. Declan Hayes, Professor of Finance, Sophia University, Tokyo

"A path-breaking piece of research. Werner's style is gripping and lucid. His book at times reads like a suspense novel. Every chapter is a further piece in the puzzle, and the conclusions of his research are surprising and original. Few books I have read manage to get their point across to a non-specialist audience as well as this one. Unconventional and highly original, it rewrites recent Japanese economic history. Its implications go beyond Japan: a thoughtful analysis of the economic power of central banks. His analysis of the Japanese "economic model" provides fascinating new insights.
Werner's book is likely to spark controversy. But his views are well backed-up by original research. Having been a long-term resident in Japan, he has had the opportunity to get unique access to key decision makers in Japan. These insights allow him to provide a rich empirical account of recent events in Japan. An important episode of recent Japanese economic history is about to be uncovered with Werner's publication."

Dr. Tobias Hoschka, Head of Asian Research, McKinsey & Company, Bangkok

"This is a controversial book and some readers might be critical to the views in it, but it is recommended for the following reasons. There are some famous books on the history of the Bank of Japan, but they were published in the 1960s, and therefore do not cover the period of the bubble and post-bubble economy. The special feature of Werner's book is that it is the first attempt to reassess the long-term history of the BOJ from contemporary perspectives. This book must attract attention of both researchers and practitioners."

Tetsuji Okazaki, Professor of Economics, University of Tokyo

"Richard Werner has written a highly informative view about the development of monetary policy in Japan and the efforts of the Bank of Japan to enhance its independence. The contribution of the Bank of Japan toward the asset price bubble of the second half of the 1980s and then its role in causing the implosion of asset prices is neatly sketched. The book is immensely readable."

Robert Z. Aliber, Professor of International Economics and Finance, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.

"The Princes of the Yen addresses two profoundly important and disturbing issues for global financial markets: the dangerous concentration of power within central banks and the deceitful characteristics of credit bubbles (...) Princes of the Yen argues that the Bank of Japan's agenda is nothing less than the structural transformation of the corporate and financial sectors. (...) Acknowledging the risks associated with this breathtaking act of brinkmanship, the author argues persuasively that the outlook for the Japanese economy is much brighter than it appears."

Dr. Peter Warburton, Economic Adviser, Fleming Chase, London