JAPAN: Bumpy Progress

The U.S. is Japan's best customer, and the strength of the American recovery is being anxiously watched by Japanese officials for any sign of slowdown—which Japan does not need. When oil prices went through the roof two years ago, Japan's economy went through the floor. Heavily dependent on once cheap oil to fuel its breakneck postwar expansion, Japan slid into its worst recession in 30 years. Recovery has been slow, and the government's attention has been diverted from important economic matters by the Lockheed bribery scandal (marked last week by the arrest...

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