Japan’s Problems Draw Yawns in Davos; China Becomes New Focus
Japan’s problems seem to have drawn little but yawns from participants in this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, while China’s growing presence on the world economic stage became the center of attention, at least so far as Asia is concerned, Nihon Keizai reported. Economy minister Takenaka did get up and deliver a stemwinder promising that Prime Minister Koizumi is for sure going to cure deflation by expanding the money supply. He did, however, stick to Koizumi’s new line (Digest, 1/24) by avoiding any mention of an “inflation target.” Other Japanese appearing on a Davos panel, including Tokyo University Prof. Takatoshi Ito and Keizai Doyukai chairman Yotaro Kobayashi, seemed unable to make up their collective minds about whether deliberate inflation makes wise policy. Takenaka also drew a little sting from Princeton Economic Paul Krugman, who criticized his lack of follow through on ways and means to push more money into the economy. But most of those who attended the Japan session, Nikkei said, seemed to feel that the pace of change is too slow to deal with the problems. The audience for the Japan panel, the paper observed, was far smaller than one drawn by Cheng Siwei, the vice chairman of China’s National People’s Congress, and the real debate about Asia this year centered not on Japan but on how to strike a balance between the growing Asian superpowers, China and India.
via Japan Digest