Japan Goes to the Ghosts

Last week, when many Japanese deserted Tokyo to pray at the graves of their ancestors--an annual August festival known as O-bon--subway commuters were treated to a rare opportunity: enough elbowroom to actually open their morning newspapers. That was a mixed blessing, given that the news was so grim. Amid the usual litany of ominous rumblings about the sagging yen and anemic economy were reports that the Long Term Credit Bank, Japan's 10th largest financial institution--which is to say, bigger than almost any U.S. bank--was in imminent danger of collapse. The bank's "bottomless" stock price (27[cents]), screamed a tabloid, could mean only...

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