HONG KONG — Japan’s economy supremo, 72-year-old Kaoru Yosano, clad in his regulation ministerial “Action Man” powder-blue boiler suit and heavy gumboots ready to spring into emergency mode instantly, claimed last week that the damage to the country’s economy from the earthquake and tsunami would be “limited.” He mused to the Financial Times that there could be a loss of perhaps 0.1 to 0.2 percent of output. Thus overall growth would be positive and 1.5 percent in the 2011 fiscal year.

At the very least, Yosano was being economical with the economic truth. Indeed, it seemed a dangerously surreal comment when Japan is fighting to prevent a catastrophic nuclear meltdown. He failed to take account of the spreading damage of the aftereffects of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear fallout, as well as the economic, social and political obstacles to putting the country on its feet again.

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