Allianz.com: Japan has been suffering from a crisis which started in the 1990s and lasted almost until today. There are signs that the US and Europe are struggling with similar problems today. Will we struggle as long as Japan did?
Michael Heise: Actually, no. Of course, the Japan scenario has a lot of similarities to what is happening in Europe and the US at the moment. Nonetheless, there are two big differences. Firstly, the asset bubble in Japan at the end of the 1980s was a lot bigger than the one in the US or Europe pre 2008. Therefore, the so-called balance sheet recession lasted much longer. Secondly, we acted more quickly in the US and in Europe by recapitalizing and streamlining the banking sector. Basically the banking reform in Japan came ten years after the bubble had burst.