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Japan's economy grew rapidly after World War II until equity and real estate bubbles burst in the late 1980s. The 1990s are often called Japan's "Lost Decade," as the economy did not recover. Japan is, however, an economic power and a member of the Group of 8 (G-8).

Expanded Definition

Some say that Japan has not recovered even 20 years after the bubbles, fueled in part by over-lending, burst. They compare what happened in Japan with what happened with the subprime meltdown in the United States in 2008, and look east for tips on what the U.S. government should not do in response.

Some facts about Japan from the CIA World Factbook:

  • Japan is an ancient culture that became a strong ally of the United States after World War II.
  • With virtually no energy natural resources, Japan is the world's largest importer of coal and liquefied natural gas, as well as the second-larged importer of oil.
  • The country is slightly smaller than California; air pollution is a problem; natural phenomena include volcanic occurrences and typhoons.
  • Arable land is about 12% of the country.
  • Japan's population is shrinking slightly.
  • Population = 127 million.
  • Capital = Tokyo.
  • Form of government = constitutional monarchy with parliamentay government.

Gross domestic product was $4 trillion (American dollars) in 2007, with a GDP annual growth rate in that year of 2.1%, according to information provided by the World Bank.

Japan is a developed country with a tech-savvy economy and many solid companies, including Honda, Toyota, and Sony. Its residents have purchasing power and its government is very interested in keeping Japan a world economic power.

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