Remembering Exactly How The Japanese Economy Collapsed

The wonderful things internet and Google are.  We can search through some really old news date back more than 20 years ago, even though there were no people reading news online (sure, did anyone use internet?).

Out of curiosity, I found some really old news from Western media about Japan.  Specifically, what’s happened in Japan over 20 years ago. 

Note: the following quotes are all from New York Times, and it is merely a coincident.

15 December 1986, New York Times

Japanese investors have become major players in key real estate markets in the United States, snapping up hotels at Waikiki and stepping over each other to grab skyscrapers from Los Angeles to New York City.

Does it ring a bell?

7 September 1988, New York Times

The real estate boom here has been long been out of control, but many people were still shocked when a Government-affiliated research group calculated a few months ago that the book value of all the land in Japan – $13.47 trillion and change at current exchange rates -easily exceeded the value of all the land in the United States.

22 August 1989, New York Times

Japan became the world’s richest nation on paper in 1987, surpassing the United States in national assets for the first time with $43.7 trillion worth of land, factories, stocks and other wealth, a leading Japanese newspaper said today.

The value of Japan’s assets in 1987 jumped sharply from $28.3 trillion in 1986, said Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the country’s top economic daily, quoting figures from the United States Federal Reserve Board and Japan’s Economic Planning Agency.

According to Federal Reserve figures, the United States had $30.6 trillion in assets at the end of 1985, $34 trillion worth in 1986 and $36.2 trillion in 1987, the newspaper said.

Remember this rubbish statistics that Beijing total land value equals to one year of GDP of the United States?  Although totally incomparable quantities, that scared quite a bit of people.

It didn’t end well, of course.  As reported here:

14 September 1991, New York Times

Japanese company bankruptcies jumped 74.3 per cent in August, compared with a year earlier, a private research company reported Friday, the latest indication of how far Japan’s economic bubble has deflated.

We know the rest of the story: the Japanese economy experienced two lost decades.

I will have more to say on that later.

This article originally appeared here: What’s Happened In Japan Two Decades Ago?
Also sprach Analyst – World & China Economy, Global Finance, Real Estate

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