Is There A Recession In Japan's Near Future?

Japan's Finance Minister, KIICHI MIYAZAWA, is regarded as the island of calm in the chaotic sea that passes for Japan's government. A former Prime Minister, the octogenarian was persuaded to stay on and lend a shred of credibility to an unpopular administration when YOSHIRO MORI came to power last April. So Miyazawa's unusually frank remarks last week about Japan's economy carried a particularly powerful punch. The country's finances, he said, "are near a state of collapse." The yen quickly slid to 20-month lows. Within days, Mori revealed to government insiders that he intends to step down.

Miyazawa was talking specifically about...

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