I was talking to a fairly well known CEO of a securities firm. He told me that the Nikkei would hit the 8000 range last year. Today he said that he thought foreign investors were going to dump Japanese stocks and that it might hit 6000 in the next 3 months and that it would probably most definitely hit 7000. He said that the branch manager of a fairly large branch of Nomura Securities told him that 10 of his top 20 accounts recently liquidated ALL of their equity holdings. He also said that many of the major banks would probably soon come under government protection/control through the Bank of Japan. Argentina, here we come!

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The sad thing is that if the Japanese government had made the needed reforms (reforming banking, curtailing spending, etc.) when the Nikkei was much higher, it wouldn't have impacted the economy nearly as much as it has today. It's as if the government wanted to postpone the tough/painful reforms, but is waiting until the economy is really in the dumps before they do it. Of course, doing the tough/painful reforms wouldn't have been popular in better times, but with 20/20 hindsight, doesn't it make sense to take your medicine early rather than waiting until you're very sick?

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