On December 4, 2009, the Center on Japanese Economy and Business and the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics at Columbia Business School co-hosted the panel "Why Was the Financial Crisis Less Enduring in Japan and Other Countries...This Time Around?" Moderated by Ronald Gilson, the Marc and Eva Stern Professor of Law and Business at Columbia Law School, the panel featured Takatoshi Ito, visiting professor at Columbia University and professor of economics at the University of Tokyo; Floyd Norris, chief financial correspondent of The New York Times; Jacques Longerstaey, executive vice president and chief risk officer at State Street Global Advisors; and Thierry Porte, operating partner at J.C. Flowers & Co., LLC, and former president and CEO of Shinsei Bank, Limited.
While American and European financial institutions have suffered considerably from the recent financial crisis, the largest banking groups in Japan have successfully endured. Professor Takatoshi Ito highlights two diverging hypotheses that justify such an outcome: (1) Japan was so advanced that it was able to avoid risk, or (2) Japan was so backward that it avoided risk. Thierry Porte of J.C. Flowers states that Japan has actually exhibited traits of being both ahead of and behind the curve. For instance, Japan was the first major country to adopt the Basel II Accord, which established an international standard for rigorous risk and capital management requirements. However, Japan has not been a major innovator in the trading of financial assets.