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Japan yesterday reduced official bank interest rates to a record low of 1 per cent, in an attempt to overcome an economic crisis caused by a rapid rise in the yen, writes Peter Rodgers. With inflation virtually zero and an enormous current account surplus, Japan is struggling with problems that many other countries would love. Japan's interest rates are normally in the low single figures and in the last 10 years rates have only once reached 8 per cent. British interest rates, in contrast, have regularly been as high as 15 per cent and there was national rejoicing when they reached single figures in 1992 and a low of just over 5 per cent last year.