A newspaper headline tells me ‘Pace of growth picks up in Japan.” The actual figures bear out the statement. Japan’s real GDP registered a quarter-on-quarter increase of 1.2 percent in the July-September quarter. The Japanese economy is expanding.

But is it? Take a look at the nominal GDP figures and one finds that by this measure, the quarter-on-quarter growth rate was a negative 0.1 percent. It’s a tiny figure, admittedly, but clearly a shrinkage nonetheless.

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