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Inviting economic suicide?

 Now it is at least semi-official: Japan's economy is on the skids. A report just released by a think tank of the Nippon Keidanren, the country's most powerful business organization, says that by 2050, Japan will no longer be a developed country, predicting years of negative growth from 2030 onward.

"Unless something is done, we are afraid that Japan will fall out of the league of advanced nations and again become a tiny country in the Far East," says the report in Japanese by the 21st Century Public Policy Institute (21st CPPI), the research institute of Keidanren.

The report should serve as a wakeup call to Japan's economic and political establishment to take radical remedial reforms. The worry must be that there are few people inside Japan Inc. who have a clue about how to remedy the situation, still less the necessary political clout.

The 21st CPPI predicts that in the best-case scenario, Japan's gross domestic product in 2050 will be only one-sixth of China's and one third of India's, as the country struggles to stay ahead of Brazil as the world's fourth biggest economy. If Japan does not take remedial measures, it will drop to ninth place in the world, behind France and barely ahead of Indonesia.

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