Prague, Czech Republic Brian Bremner's article "Still curing yesterday's disease" (Finance, Oct. 10) castigates the Bank of Japan for continuing to act as if it is treating a sick economy. Yet while Japan may be walking again, it still needs crutches. Certainly, for the first time after the "lost decade," the major indicators are encouraging. Industrial output, "salaryman" (company workers') wages, and investment are all on the rise. Deflation seems to be under control, unemployment is falling, and property prices are steadying.
However, the government is planning a further cut of 5% in the salaries of civil servants next year. Private universities will implement further matching cuts, having done so this year, while national universities are part of the civil service. And, as Bremner correctly notes, the government is determined to raise taxes. When the economy is in distress, the last thing a government should contemplate is eroding consumer buying power, the real backbone of the economy. Relying on exports to China is no panacea.
Ali M. El-Agraa
Fukuoka, Japan Re "Q: What's bigger than Cisco (CSCO
), Coke (KO
), or McDonald's (MCD
)?" (People, Oct. 10): What is so innovative or admirable about Cerberus Capital Management LP? A guy attracts a pile of money from well-heeled people looking for outlandish returns and then buys companies all over the place, dispatching lieutenants to run businesses they know little about, thereby inspiring confidence and undying loyalty from the thousands of employees in these companies, many of whom are ticketed for dismissal.
Back in the 1970s there used to be a name for this kind of operation: conglomerate. It has been discarded because it didn't work.