This research summarizes the main findings of "Regulation" theory about the evolution
of the Japanese economy since WWII and proposes an institutional interpretation of
the crisis of the 90s. The company-ist compromise is the core of the whole institutional
architecture via an original wage labour nexus, largely different from the American
Fordist one. There is a clear hierarchy between the large corportation and sub-contractors.
One observers a complementarity between the mode of governance of the firm and the
main bank and finallybetween the industrial wselfare and the management of employment.
A highly original "regulation" mode has allowed the implementation of a mass production
and consumption economy, but this regime enters into crisis by its very success and
this crisis is exacerbated by the impact of the financial bubble of the 90s. The
paper surveys the transformation of the main institutional firms since the 90s and
builds three scenarios based respectively upon: a large inertia of Japanese economic
and political institutions; a quick adoption of typical market-led institutions under
the pressure of financial market; or a new hybridization process that would concern
banking and finance and not only the manufacturing industries, as was the case after