Home Money British slump isn’t unique: There are lessons to be learned from Japan’s decline, says MAGGIE PAGANO

British slump isn’t unique: There are lessons to be learned from Japan’s decline, says MAGGIE PAGANO

by Elijah
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Slump: A row of bars and restaurants in a busy Tokyo shopping district. Japan has lost its place as the world's third largest economy to Germany

If it’s any consolation, Britain is not alone in this crisis.

The economic climate from East to West is equally stormy, with Japan in recession and China struggling to stimulate demand and stabilize its stock market as the pace of growth of the world’s industrial powerhouse peters out.

Across the continent, the prognosis is also poor. The European Commission cut its previous growth predictions for the eurozone this year, predicting gross domestic product in the 20 countries will rise just 0.8 percent instead of the 1.2 percent forecast last November.

Next year is slightly better, at 1.5 percent. By far the biggest drag on growth will be Germany, which has already been in and out of recession due to the collapse of the manufacturing industry and rising energy costs.

Now the EC has reduced its previous forecast to 0.3 percent this year compared to 0.8 percent.

Slump: A row of bars and restaurants in a busy Tokyo shopping district. Japan has lost its place as the world’s third largest economy to Germany

Of the world’s major economies, only the United States appears to be defying misery. While growth is slowing, it is proving remarkably resilient despite the recent rise in inflation, and looks set to grow more than 2 percent.

Perhaps the most surprising news, however, is that Japan has lost its place as the world’s third-largest economy to Germany, as the Asian giant has fallen into recession.

Japan’s GDP is now $4.2 trillion (£3.33 trillion) compared to Germany’s $4.5 trillion (£3.37 trillion). Japan, once the second-largest economy on the planet, has had two consecutive quarters of contraction.

Its problems are threefold: a weaker yen, a declining population and high energy costs. The yen has fallen by a fifth in the last two years against the dollar.

This is of great importance, since the low dollar rate hurts export earnings – on which it largely depends – when they are repatriated home.

Japan, like its neighbor China, is on a demographic time bomb due to its aging population and low birth rate, which is causing labor shortages.

Incontinence pads now outsell baby diapers as the population has fallen from 128 million in 2008 to 122 million today, and continues to fall.

But Japan’s problem is more complicated than other countries because its fertility rate fell below replacement level in the early 1970s, much earlier than in other countries.

So there is still a lot of catching up to do. Last year, births fell below 800,000, the biggest drop since records began in the 1890s.

Governments have launched incentives, from longer parental leaves to doubling maternity pay, to improve parenting.

They appear to have worked for a while, with the number of women in the workplace as high as 82 percent, which, counterintuitively, saw an increase in the birth rate as women who work have more children than those who don’t. .

But not enough. Immigration has skyrocketed as key industries have had to bring in labor or face ruin.

The non-Japanese population has grown to 3.2 million, a striking change from its notorious “closed-doors” reputation.

The country of the samurai has become the country of the baby bust.

Other countries have much to learn from Japan’s experience.

Nvidia pays the chips

Nvidia is on fire. The US chipmaker has overtaken Alphabet and Amazon to become America’s third most valuable company after Microsoft and Apple, with a market capitalization of $1.8tn (£1.4tn).

It has also gone on a buying spree, taking stakes in five artificial intelligence companies, delving further into data chips and the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare to accelerate drug discovery.

Its biggest investment was in Arm Holdings, the rival chip designer that Nvidia tried to buy for £32bn two years ago, a deal that fell apart following antitrust hurdles.

Arm’s shares soared again on the news (they’re 100 percent higher than when they listed), so you can understand why it decided to list in New York instead of London.

Nvidia has also invested in healthcare companies Nano-X Imaging, Recursion Pharmaceuticals and voice AI platform Sound Hound.

Last year, it acquired 35 AI companies: Nvidia may be worth around $1 trillion behind Big Tech, but at this rate, it won’t be long before it catches up.


Only 5 percent of racing drivers are women, but more than 40 percent of F1 fans are women.

Feisty makeup queen Charlotte Tilbury is aiming to close the gap by sponsoring Formula 1’s F1 Academy project, which is trying to attract more women to the sport.

Now that’s girl power: Tilbury’s Scent of a Dream fragrance competing with the burnt rubber smells of the pit stop.

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