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'Mr. Yen' on US Crisis: Behind the Curve


When it comes to financial crisis, government need to move quickly ... and so far it hasn't, according to the man often thought of as Japan's equivalent of Alan Greenspan.

"The authorities have to move very quickly," Eisuke Sakakibara told CNBC in an interview Thursday.  "So far, the authorities have been a little bit behind the curve.  You should have infused capital a little bit earlier."

Mr. Yen on Crisis Response: 'Behind the Curve'

Sakakibara, a former director-general of the International Monetary Fund who earned the nickname "Mr. Yen" as Japan's vice minister of finance for international affairs, said the speed of developments in the current crisis puts greater demands on governments.

Sakakibara was in charge of Japan's currency policy in the late 1990s. He  sees the current worldwide financial crisis as similar, but not identical, to what his own country went through a decade ago.

"The only differences are, the moves were much quicker, and (this) is a global crisis," Eisuke Sakakibara said in an interview on CNBC's Squawk Box.  "Ours was a local crisis."

He predicted a difficult period of adjustment as the United States works its way out of the crisis.

"Wall Street's financial model has collapsed," he told CNBC.  "The business model of investment banks has collapsed, so that we probably need different supervision.  That is the task of the new president of the United States."

At a forum in Hong Kong last month, Sakakibara blamed the global slump on loose American monetary and fiscal policies, and predicted it would last between two and five years.