Shinzo Abe doesn't wear a wizard's hat. Nor is the prime minister known to be skilled in sorcery, voodoo or hypnosis. And yet somehow Abenomics entranced millions for nearly three years, none more so than the MBA set in New York and London that should have known better.

Western investment banks beefed up Tokyo staffs, stamped "buy" ratings on Nikkei stocks and raced out reports on Japan triumphing over deflation. Foreign journalists suddenly became Japan experts. Brookings couldn't plan Abenomics-is-brilliant seminars fast enough. Nobel laureates toasted the Abe effect around the globe. In May 2013, Paul Krugman penned a New York Times column headlined "Japan the Model."

Such euphoria seems like a long, long time ago as Abenomics fails every key metric. Even exports, the growth engine to which Abe tended the most, have fallen for 10 straight months — the worst streak since the 2008 subprime crisis.