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1998-04-28 22:24:26


Japan Will Melt, Says Peter de Jager



A recent survey of 48 Japanese banks reveals that these banks are planning to spend a total of $259 million to fix y2k.

Citicorp says it will spend about $600 million.

It's obvious what will happen. The Japanese banks will not make it. "Japan will melt," says Peter de Jager.

Problem: If Japan melts, we all melt. The world's banks will all go down. Then Citicorp's $600 million investment will be worth exactly nothing.

That's the trouble with a systemic problem: it's systemic.

Yet de Jager says he remains optimistic. Psychologists call this "cognitive dissonance."

This is from the New Zealand BUSINESS HERALD (April 25).

* * * * * * *

Since 1991, Mr de Jager has been speaking to prime ministers and presidents, chief executives and financial officers, urging them to take action before it is too late.

His Web site at is visited by more than 400,000 people a month. He is constantly on the road, "preaching to the choir" - addressing conferences such as one in Wellington last week attended by year 2000 project managers from businesses, banks and government departments.

"The reality is most organisations are still not working on this." . . .

"I've looked at the code, 1 know it will break. It's an observation, not a prediction."

While weary from his years on the road, Mr de Jager refuses to succumb to pessimism. "We have the people, the skills, the tools to fix what we need to fix. What it needs is effort, concerted, focused effort. The year 2000 industry uses a word borrowed from the emergency room - triage. Identify what must be done so the patient survives. The rest can wait." . . .

Before his short visit to New Zealand, Mr de Jager was in Japan. A recent magazine survey of banks worldwide drew responses from 48 Japanese banks, including some of the world's largest. In total they estimated their year 2000 projects would cost US$259 million (NZ$463 million).

'In the US, Citicorp is spending $600 million. The CBA in Australia is spending $100 million. Barclays and Natwest are spending £100 million each. It doesn’t take many banks to be spending more than the Japanese in total.

"Japan will melt" Mr de Jager said.


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