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Through the last six years of rumbling global financial crisis, Japan has been an afterthought. In 2008, the world’s second-largest (soon to be third-largest) economy was still dealing with the consequences of its own banking crisis from the 1990s, its economy mired in a generation of economic stagnation and low-level but persistent deflation.

If you had taken a snapshot of the Japanese economy in 2002 and again in 2012, you wouldn’t have missed much.

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