The accounting reaper cometh (Noah Smith)

A specter is haunting East Asia. Consumption is falling in the world's "deficit" countries, as American and British consumers rebuild their balance sheets. The global current-account and capital-account imbalances are thus coming under immense strain. An accounting identity states that for the imbalances to vanish, one of two things must happen in the "surplus" countries: …

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Omission vs. commission (Noah Smith)

There's been some discussion on this blog about how much responsibility the LDP bears for Japan's current economic woes. Has Japan been helplessly swept up in a crisis of America's making? Or did LDP policies leave Japan more vulnerable than necessary to the storms sweeping the global economy?The answer, as I see it, is "both." …

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Japan’s friends, kept at arm’s length

The Japan Times today has two op-eds that illustrate Japan's troublesome ties with the US, its ally, and South Korea, its wealthy, democratic neighbor and former colony.The first, by journalist Hanai Kiroku, calls for a US-Japan economic partnership agreement (EPA), to follow on the heels of the Japan-Australia EPA currently under negotiation. Given the scale …

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