Japan sliding into deeper recession

Ikaika M Hussey

Japan is in the midst of its longest recession since World War II, The Economist reports. The shrinkage is a direct result of the global credit crunch and the country's dependence on exports:

It was exports that powered the economy during 2004-07, growing on average by 9.8 percent a year. So when the global credit crunch started to crimp external demand, Japan felt the pain at once. Exports of goods and services contracted 2.6 percent quarter on quarter in the second quarter, after rising an average of 2.9 percent in the previous three quarters. In the third quarter exports did manage to increase, but only by a paltry 0.8 percent. In light of the deteriorating global outlook, Japan faces a prolonged period in which exports are unlikely to contribute much, if anything, to its economic prospects. The strong yen is not helping either.

The Japanese economic news comes on the heels of a business trip taken by Governor Lingle and Lt. Governor Aiona last month to promote Hawai'i as a visitor destination.

"The Asia tourism and business trips, which have been in the planning for several months, are part of my administration's five-point plan to create jobs and stimulate the economy," Lingle said in November. "It is critical that we do all we can to reach out to our traditional visitor base in Japan as well as emerging markets such as China and Korea to encourage people to visit Hawai'i, and to ensure our state is well positioned with increased flights and air seat capacity."