When the United States was hit by terrorist attacks nearly a year ago, the economic fallout was predicted to be a nightmare.

The U.S. economy, already suffering from the burst of the information technology bubble, threatened to dip further and drag down Japan, itself long mired in a slump.

In retrospect, the impact from the attacks on the U.S. economy was temporary and relatively small. As hope grew for a quick and robust recovery in the U.S., optimism also spread to Japan earlier this year for an export-led upturn.