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Japan’s fake funk

The Japanese economy is far from being a basket case. In fact, during the 1990s, Japanese living standards and trade surpluses continued to rise and the country extended its lead in key technologies. But the gloom story diverts attention from Japan's closed markets and its economic alliance with China

By Eamonn Fingleton   November 2002

For a decade now, the western consensus has been that Japan is an economic basket case. But this is a dramatic misreading of a perennially secretive society. Indeed, it may come to be seen as one of the most significant misreadings in economic history.

The geopolitical implications of this misunderstanding go far beyond Japan or east Asia. The myth of Japan’s “collapse” has encouraged the west to imagine that the east Asian economic model (largely an extension of the Japanese model) is inherently flawed. Beyond a certain point, the argument runs, a nation must embrace the Anglo-American free-market model or…

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