BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE: AUGUST 30, 1999 ISSUE

Int'l Readers Report

A Call for Greater Transparency in Japan (int'l edition)

Regarding ''The secrets pour out'' (Asian Business, Aug. 2): Although the new accounting rules could dismay some Japanese companies that have hidden losses, I believe they will help to develop a healthy business environment in Japan.

It is the secretive Japanese companies that kept the old rules, depriving investors of sound investing information. The new rules could give Japanese businesses a chance to reform such bad customs. Not only would new rules provide investors with appropriate information, but they also would encourage Japanese managers to create a new mindset of fair competition.

Noriaki Osanami
Tokyo


Incredible how the ''two weights, two measures'' system works in this business world of ours. With its Public Companies Act in 1976, Brazil fixed much stricter rules for the accounting and consolidation of financial statements than Japan did. Only now, in 1999, is Japan struggling to change this ''surrealistic'' situation. Asia has shown a tradition of poor financial information (consider the cases of bad loans to real estate developers in some Far East countries). We cannot say we have ''the ultimate'' standards here in Brazil, but certainly much better financial statements are available.

Wesley Montechiari Figueira
Curitiba, Parana
Brazil



To the Lender Goes Part of the Blame (int'l edition)

I found ''My luncheon with Bono'' (Economic Viewpoint, July 12) very interesting. Bad loans to the Third World originate mainly at such institutions as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and regional development banks. These institutions not only appraise the projects before lending but also monitor implementation through their staff or consultants.

In many cases, they press Third World countries to borrow money for certain ventures as a condition for approving loans for other projects. Therefore, it is fair to say that part of the responsibility for the bad loans lies with the managers of lending agencies.

Don't forget that, in many cases, loans are sanctioned for unsound projects in order to support political interests of lenders, and some projects are designed for embezzlement of funds. Therefore, it is the moral obligation of lending agencies to write off part of such loans.

In recent years, involvement and interference of the IMF and World Bank in the monetary policies of poor countries has substantially increased. The intention may be good, but as a consequence they should share financial responsibility for failed policies and projects.

Muhammad Aliuddin
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia



No Peace, No Hope Since Partition (int'l edition)

''Conflict in Kashmir: How high are the stakes?'' (Asian Business, July 19) was well-balanced. The Kashmir problem was planned by British rulers and continues more than half a century after the partition of India and creation of Pakistan in August, 1947.

Your analysis of the conflict is well-worded. As for your concluding observation that hope for a lasting peace is vastly diminished, from the very start of this part of the subcontinent's history, hope never existed.

S.N. Mehta
New Delhi





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LETTERS:
< A Call for Greater Transparency in Japan (int'l edition)

To the Lender Goes Part of the Blame (int'l edition)

No Peace, No Hope Since Partition (int'l edition)

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