HONG KONG — My old friend Yoh Kurosawa just threw his head back and laughed: “How can you say that the rising yen is a danger. It proves we are strong, the world regards us as best.”

Sadly, Kurosawa was not around to impart his wisdom to the new Japanese economic establishment. My conversation with him took place several years ago when the yen was panicking Japanese business, financial and industrial circles as it hurtled toward 95 to the U.S. dollar. Kurosawa was chief executive of Industrial Bank of Japan, the principal financing arm for Japan’s postwar economic miracle. Things were simpler then. Foreign exchange markets were big, but not as massive as the $4 trillion a day today — meaning that by intervening Japan risks spitting in the wind.

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