The economies of Japan and Germany, similar in many respects, are often compared. Not only did both rise from the ashes of World War II to become the leading economies in their regions, but they also formed strong manufacturing bases, large numbers of successful midsize companies and enjoyed extreme success in the global export market.

Their current situations and business environments, however, could not be more different. While the mood in Japan is one of doom, the world is marveling at Germany's economic miracle. In February, the Economist even described German Chancellor Angela Merkel as "Angela in Wunderland."

Germany has been the star performer of the G7 over the past decade and grew an astonishing 3.6 percent in 2010. The general mood of its population is more optimistic than it's been in a decade.