Peek and Rosengren (2005) showed that after the end of the bubble economy era in Japan, regulatory forbearance and perverse incentives allowed Japanese banks to engage extensively in "evergreening". Inoue et al. (2008) also showed that, compared to out-of-court settlements in the United States, agreements on out-of-court restructuring are attained more easily in Japan. However, widespread forbearance by banks and affiliated companies in addressing the needs of distressed firms indicated a serious weakness of banks and affiliated companies in instituting discipline. This is the first empirical study to examine the performance of Japanese firms that experienced out-of-court restructuring in Japan from January 1990, when the bubble economy burst, to March 2005, when the Koizumi Cabinet declared the bad debt problems of major firms to be resolved. Our results show that important biases permitted deeply unprofitable firms to survive in Japan. This finding is similar to research by Hotchkiss (1995), who analyzed post-restructuring performance in the United States. We also find that out-of-court restructurings of troubled firms in Japan were less effective in improving profitability than restructurings under Chapter 11 in the United States. However, we find that restructurings associated with new capital injections and new outside management are more likely to lead to genuine improvement in financial performance.
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