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Comforted by the notion that “Japan could not happen here,” there was a time when U.S. economists felt confident lecturing the Japanese government on how to pull the country out of its prolonged economic malaise.

However, as I wrote back in 2011, in doing so they severely underappreciated the challenges of post-bubble recoveries. Today they are rightly more timid about criticizing the Japanese, given that the West is still failing to bounce back fully from its own economic lapses, which culminated in the 2008 global financial crisis.

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