Tokyo — The Japanese are busily adding another product to their long list of successful exports -- money, billions of yen of it. A wave of Japanese cash is moving through the banking halls of Frankfurt, London, New York, and Zurich, making 1984 a record-breaking year for Tokyo bankers.
The city's Marunouchi banking district saw the biggest yen loan ever last year when the Canadian government arranged a borrowing of $490 million in July.
Only a few days before, Australia and New Zealand borrowed $408 million each and New Zealand was back in November for another $100 million.
Economists at the Nomura Research Institute think Japan will have invested a record $44 billion abroad in 1984, more than double 1983's $18 billion.
And Yoshihisa Kitai, an economist with Japan's Long Term Credit Bank, thinks the figure will rise to between $45 billion and $50 billion in 1985.
Why are the Japanese sending abroad money they could spend at home?
Japan's population now lives longer than ever before, and more people are increasing the money they stash away on investments to help them in their later years.
The Japanese are now saving some 18 percent of their income, compared with the average American's 6 percent, and the life insurance firms and pension funds are moving it abroad.
Hundreds of firms are sending money away to build factories overseas and placate countries threatening to stop Japanese exports at the docks unless the Japanese make their products where they are sold.