While economists squabble over a possible US recession, Japan has quietly slipped into one. The country’s postwar riches have all but vanished, the Washington Post reports, as its GDP tumbles from fourth to twentieth among the world’s countries and its share of the world’s economy dips from 18% in 1994 to below 10% in 2006.
Facing a shrinking population, Japan’s economic minister says he feels “a sense of crisis,” but the country maintains stiff regulations and hostility to foreign investment. Some economists call the deterioration natural, but one attributed it to “a very limited sense of urgency.” Thanks to record-low unemployment and a comfortable middle-class, “People from top to bottom remain indifferent,” another analyst said. (Read more Japanese economy stories.)