Prediction: Japan Will Have Anti-Deflation Policy By Month's End

By John S. McClenahen It appears that Heizo Takenaka, Prime Minister Koizumi's newly named head of the Financial Supervision Agency, could be the key to getting the world's second-largest economy on the path to sustainable growth again. Under Takenaka, there is the possibility that Japan's "huge pool of savings will be shifted toward productive uses and away from propping up 'zombie' companies," says Merrill Lynch & Co., New York. Indeed, by the end of October, says Merrill Lynch analyst Jesper Koll, Japan will have a new anti-deflation policy in place. Koll and his colleagues expect the government to move on three fronts, easing monetary policy, cutting taxes and recycling productive assets that are currently non-performing loan collateral. "For now, don't hold your breath. But in a few years' time, Japan might emerge from its prolonged funk," advises Merrill Lynch.

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