Country: ECOSOC Crisis Situation

Event: Mini-MUN 2000

Author: Daniel R. Fruit, MA, MS, MPA

Yen and Dong

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Crisis Area Map

What Triggers the Crisis: Yen and Dong

May 17, 2000

600 Tokyo time, Obi Nobuchi, a salaryman, is alarmed to find that an automatic teller machine at Daichi Bank gives him no money.

800 The rumor quickly spreads around Tokyo that many Daichi bank teller machines will not give any yen. Since Japan is largely a cash society, this story causes an immediate stir.

900 Lines are reported outside Tokyo Daichi Banks waiting for the opening of the doors. Within five minutes of opening, it becomes apparent that a run on the bank is in order. By 930, the bank closes its doors.

915 Sumitomo Banks branches report similiar shortages of cash at its teller machines.

930 It's obvious in Tokyo, by now, that a general run on all of the banks is in order as commuters rush to try to withdraw their savings.

1000 The Bank of Japan announces a temporary closure of Daichi Banks. The Japanese stockmarket opens, and all stocks rapidly lose 10% of their value. The yen falls to 140 per dollar within minutes as traders start "selling short" their yen.

1015 The American government places a call through Interpol asking all banks to monitor any unusually high deposits or withdrawals and forward the information to US Pentagon.

1030 Office-workers in Tokyo start to leave their jobs as the run continues. The Japanese government goes on television and the prime minister re-assures the country that their banking system is in order. Meanwhile Japanese stocks continue to plummet. Their triggers a general sell-off of all Asian stocks. All major currencies in the region begin to plummet, including the Chinese rimnibi.

1100 The Japanese stock-market closes as do all bank branches not already closed. The selling of yen and Japanese stocks, however, continues on other world markets.

1200 The Japanese government offers to guarantee all deposits in troubled banks, including Daichi and Sumitomo. However, they offer to do so with bonds pledged against the (questionable) value of the banks' real estate. They open the stock market, selling only these bonds, but find few takers.

May 18

500 The US government issues a report a report from the Switz government. It reports a $40 billion dollar transfer from Daichi and Sumitomo Banks to a Trinh Le Vong, an American citizen of Vietnamese decent attending USC. They can't, immediately, report the final destination of the money.

800 A California newspaper interviews USA Trinh's roommate, a Nam Lee Hung. She calls Trinh a "hacker's hacker," smart and able. She also reports that Trinh was deeply worried about her relatives left in Vietnam. Trinh's family, South Vietnamese, initally supported the Communist take-over. However, they fell out of favor with the Vietnamese government and sent Trinh off in some haste to grow up as an American citizen in California.

900 The USA issues a warrant for Trinh's arrest. However, they soon discover that Trinh has already boarded a jet bound for India with a connecting flight to Vietnam.

1000 The Japanese government issues a statement that the loss of cash at the Bank teller machines stemmed from Trinh's hacking, not a basic weakness of the banks. However, the rush to retrieve cash continues, and the Japanese declare a "bank holiday," closing all branches until further notice.

1030 The Vietnamese dong, unlike all the major currencies, rises in value. The FBI traces Trinh's money to governmental accounts in Vietnam.

1100 The Japanese prime minister accuses Vietnam of "economic warfare" and demands Vietnam return the money that Trinh has taken.

1200 In a rare televised speech, the Vietnam president rambles on in good Communist fashion. However, several key points emerge from his speech:
(a) First, he blames the Japanese for their own economic problems. For good measure, he reminds his country how Japan ruled Vietnam during World War II and killed many Vietnamese.
(b) He reveals a piece of paper showing an application for citizenship by Trinh and signs it, declaring her, on the spot, a Vietnamese citizen. This means that the US cannot simply have Trinh arrested (even if they had her on their soil).
(c) He declares that any money sent by Trinh to Vietnam must be considered "remittances," and not and vows to keep that money in Vietnam. He adds, further, that the Japan probably owe that much money to Vietnam for World War II atrocities.

1300 The US urges India to seize Trinh when the plane bearing her sets down in Delhi and return Trinh to the US. The Japanese government urges the Indians to give her to them.

1400 The Vietnamese government urges the Indians to take no steps to aid the "capitalist-imperialists" in their efforts to "damage the people's republic." He reminds India of its long committment to "third world nations" and to "justice," not to "force and imperialism."

1401 (900 Kuwait time) The Air India Jet lands in Delhi for its stop-over. It sits on the runaway as Air India offloads all passengers. Trinh is escorted into the transit area. Her Vietnam Air jet is scheduled to take off in three hours.


1. India chose not to deliver Trinh to Vietnam and held up the airflight.
2. Vietnam agreed to return all the money to Japan in return for:
3. Trinh was allowed to complete her flight and return to Vietnam to rejoin her family.
4. Several nations gave VERBAL assurances that they would support Japan's shaky currency. Presumably, the fact that the banks were not REALLY failing would help prop up the yen.