May 13, 2011 at 06:00 AM EDT
The Japanese Economy: How Its Post-Earthquake Weakness and Scuffles With China Contribute to a Global-Market Reversal
In our ongoing search for possible "inflection-point" catalysts - financial stimulants that could help turn global markets upside down - the Japanese economy has to be a prime candidate. In the last part of the 1980s, Japan was the world power - so much so that investors on the U.S. trading floors of New York each day watched the Tokyo markets with a mixture of awe and fear. An oft-cited investing aphorism of the day explained this very clearly by holding that "when Tokyo sneezes, Wall Street catches a cold." Not long after, the Japanese miracle ended, the stock-and-real-estate markets crashed, and that Asian country fell into a funk known as the "Lost Decade" - a misnomer, since the economic malaise that's lasted virtually ever since is actually more than 20 years long.
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