Stop the Rot

Those who lived through Japan's "lost decade," that seemingly endless period of economic listlessness during the 1990s, may have felt a collective chill run down their spines recently. In the second quarter, Japan's GDP plunged 2.4%, the sharpest quarterly decline in seven years. Due to higher prices for imports such as oil, slumping exports and weak domestic demand, it now appears Japan may have slipped into recession in the fourth quarter of 2007.

While the country's corporate sector is in better shape than it was in the 1990s after an epic property...

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