Nov 13 (Reuters) – Japan is shrinking again and its
government thinks the answer lies in more of the same policy the
Bank of Japan has been unsuccessfully implementing for 17 years.
Japan’s economy contracted by 0.9 percent in the third
quarter, data showed on Monday, reversing earlier quarters of
growth and taking the country into a nosedive equating to a 3.5
percent annual decline.
Inevitably, this has economists and policy-makers fretting
over whether Japan is sinking into a recession, technically
defined as two successive quarters of economic contraction.
“I cannot deny the possibility that Japan has fallen into a
recession phase,” Japan’s economy minister Seiji Maehara said.
As if there could be a more beside-the-point question; this
is akin to an alcoholic thinking their big problem is whether
they will lose their job. Japan’s issue isn’t whether it is
sinking into its fifth recession in 15 years – as if recessions
were somehow discrete phenomena like colds – but why it is now
20 years into an economic malaise.