The Japanese economic policy experience in the 1990s was the worst observed in the country for many decades. The government withheld critically important economic information from the public, such as the size of non-performing loans held by financial institutions, while policy-makers were waiting in vain for the economy to revive. Certainly there was no leadership in the political arena that would give direction to the bureaucratic decision making process. Senior ministerial staff continued to make serious mistakes that were implicitly supported by politicians through their own non-action. The authors share the view with Posen (1998) that the major economic problems of Japan during the 1990s arose due to policymaking mistakes within the country. Once lauded for their wise judgement, Japanese bureaucrats are now viewed by many as having been motivated mainly by their own interests and by costly face-saving measures.