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Japan Slips to Fourth-Largest Economy

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The Last Days of Japan

Germany has overtaken Japan to become the world’s third-largest economy behind the US and China. Japan’s economy contracted by 0.4% in Q4 after a 3.3% decline in Q3. GDP hit $4.2 trillion in Japan in 2023 compared to Germany’s $4.4 trillion.

Japan’s economy is expected to grow by 1.4% this year. Still, Bank of Japan governor Kazuo Ueda held rates negative and warned that the future policy presented an “even more challenging year” ahead. The current interest rate in Japan is -0.10%, as the central bank falsely believed lowered rates would attract investment and stimulate the economy. The Bank of Japan has maintained a negative interest rate policy since 2016 without success.

Japanese public debt is a serious issue and now stands around $9.2 trillion (1.30 quadrillion yen), or 263% of GDP, and is the highest of any developed nation in relation to GDP. Around 43% of that debt is held by the Bank of Japan, and they have been unable to attract investors.

Inflation is gradually easing in Japan, with December producing a 2.6% figure in contrast to October’s 3.3% posting. However, Japan is becoming increasingly involved in overseas battles and recently sent another aid package to Ukraine in solidarity with the West. North Korea is constantly provoking the nation, and the situation in Taiwan is scaring away would-be foreign investors.

This shift in rank is not due to the German economy growing stronger. Germany is in a tough situation thanks to those in Brussels who eliminated its energy independence and implemented harsh regulations on every sector. There was once a time when people referred to Asia’s market as “Asia and Japan,” as Japan was the top runner for the continent. Various factors are contributing to Japan’s decline. I discuss this topic in further detail in the report “The Last Days of Japan.”