Japan's banks emerged from the 2008 global credit crisis largely unscathed because senior employees did not speak English well enough to have got them into trouble, the country's finance minister said.And btw: Australia wasn't the only country to be spared the GFC. As with other countries, it was dumb luck, not good economic or political management. Oh, and the highly regulated financial system - set up long, long ago.
Taro Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said bankers in Japan had not been able to understand the complex financial instruments that were the undoing of major global players, so had not bought them.
"Many people fell prey to the dubious products, or so-called subprime loans. Japanese banks were not so much attracted to these products, compared with European banks," Mr Aso told a seminar in Tokyo on Friday.
"There was an American who said Japanese banks are healthy, but that's not true at all. Managers of Japanese banks hardly understood English, that's why they didn't buy."
Mr Aso's comments are the latest in a line of pronouncements that have raised eyebrows.
The one-time prime minister said in January the elderly should be allowed to "hurry up and die" instead of costing the government money with expensive end-of-life medical care.
Poor English saved Japan from the GFC