Asia: Booming Recession

For the past year Japanese businessmen have woefully claimed that they are in the throes of recession. But to anyone else, Japan's condition sounds more like a boom. Gleaming new buildings are rising in every major Japanese city and more new cars join the Tokyo traffic jam every day. Consumer income in Japan is up 10% from last year, consumer spending up 9%, and even industrial output, which in any other country must point down or there is no recession, is up 6%.

To the Japanese, this has been a crisis year nonetheless, because the gross national product, which a year...

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