Praying for Growth

Take a few numbers from the export column and a few statistics from the retail sales column, put them together, and presto! You've got yourself an economic recovery in long-suffering Japan. At least that's the rosy scenario painted by government leaders desperate to shore up their sagging popularity. The trouble is that to Japanese, the calculations look suspiciously like voodoo economics. "If the economy is getting better, we sure don't feel it," says 59-year-old Kinuyo Otsu while passing a Christian Dior shop in Tokyo's Shinjuku district. "Our husbands' jobs aren't stable enough, so we don't feel comfortable buying anything," Otsu says....

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