Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

The memory is getting hazy…

January 30, 2009

Japan spendingJapan’s last boom may have lasted six years but it was like a heat haze, Japanese Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano says, underlining complaints from many Japanese that they have missed out on the export-led growth spurt.

The global financial crisis has sent Japan into a deep recession yet many did not really enjoy the preceeding boom — officially Japan’s longest period of expansion since World War Two.

“I don’t have much talent as a copywriter, but I’d say it was like the air simmering with the heat, just dragging on,” Yosano says, using the Japanese word “kagero”, or heat haze, when asked how he would label the growth cycle.

The six good years were led by exports. These grew at an average annual rate of around 10 percent from the time it kicked off after the 2001-02 dot.bomb recession, against a growth rate of just 1.1 percent in personal consumption.

It’s all historical anyway, with a slew of data released on Friday showing Japan’s economy is likely shrinking at a record rate.

Japan missed the party, but it is suffering the hangover.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

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