The purpose of this paper is to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the Japanese financial system and to propose possible changes for the future. The apparent reversal in opinions on the effectiveness of the Japanese and US financial systems in recent years suggests a long term view should be taken. All financial systems have problems in the short term and it is important not to put too much weight on these. Section 2 briefly considers the historical development and the current differences between the Japanese and US financial systems. Section 3 considers the functions of a financial system and how the Japanese and US systems have performed these functions. Suggestions for reforms for Japan are outlined in Section 4 and Section 5 contains concluding remarks. This paper was presented at the Financial Institutions Center's October 1996 conference on "
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