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Here's another one along the lines of Waxie's post. Having been stung by this last bubble collapse where I lost 30% or so of my holdings, articles like this really send alarm bells ringing. Solid companies with solid earnings are really the only way to go. This why I like coal companies and the like - it's money in the bank (well, in the ground anyway).

Japan's alarm bells toll on deaf ears
Fears rise banking system could collapse like a house of cards

Jacqueline Thorpe
Financial Post

Take Enron, multiply its off-balance-sheet debt by a trillion and what do you get? Japan. That's the joke making the rounds these days about the world's most dysfunctional economy.

"There are myriad problems with the banks, many of them covered up by impenetrable accounting conventions and an army of managers, regulators, auditors and credit raters who have been happy to look the other way for decades," said chief economist Carl Weinberg of High Frequency Economics in a recent report. "How else can a banking system run up a bad-debt book of 200-trillion yen -- US$1.5-trillion -- without triggering alarms."

With the threat of a major credit downgrade hanging over it, the fiscal year-end drawing close and the stock market stumbling, the alarms are once again going off full blast. There's concern that after a decade of denial and dallying over structural reforms, Japan's banking system is about to collapse in spectacular Enron-like fashion.
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