What’s Wrong with Japan? When Will We Hear Good News from the World’s Second Largest Economy?
Earlier in 2009, when the numbers from one of the Bank of Japan’s tankan reports were encouraging regarding Japan’s economy, I rejoiced in the hope Japan had started pulling out of its seemingly never-ending recession. Despite the fact that the United States and European Union were still mired in an economic downturn, China and Japan, along with several other Asian countries, appeared to be more resilient, and people started whispering about decoupling again.
However, as the year progressed, the reported economic statistics slipped again and the old demon of deflation was officially back in Japan. In December 2009, Japan’s cabinet office revised the GDP figures from the expected 1.2 percent growth to a realized growth of 0.3 percent. Needless to say, such a huge difference between forecast and actual growth was rather disappointing. This demonstrated that despite a series of five stimulus packages in the past 18 months, the coveted economic recovery was as far away as i