The Economy: Japan: Big New Lender

Willie ("The Actor") Sutton used to say that he robbed banks "because that's where the money is." The same reasoning — though not the same modus operandi—is prodding foreign businessmen and government representatives toward Tokyo in quest of loans and investment money. They get a warm welcome from Japanese bankers, businessmen and government officials, who face the unusual problem of reducing an embarrassingly enormous pile of cash.

In less than a year, Japan's foreign reserves more than doubled, to almost $17 billion. The money has been attracted by the nation's solid success at selling goods abroad, and even more by its having...

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