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When China overtook Japan as the world's second largest economy earlier this year, the reaction of many Japanese was "betsu ni" which loosely translates as "that's nothing special" or "so what?"
Many investors and economists here suspect that the Beijing government, which lacks transparency and an adversarial media, is padding growth statistics 10% per year to suit their political aims.
Despite China's great successes, China in their view is sort of like Mexico an overpopulated source of illegal immigrants and cheap labor and products not a legitimate competitor along the likes of advanced economies in the United States or Europe.
In contrast to Beijing's obsession with national gross domestic product (GDP) numbers, Japanese know that their per capita GDP is 10 times that of China, roughly US$37,000 per year compared to $3,700 in China. In a metaphorical sense, many Japanese see their country as being like a wealthy old man in a silver suit - an archetype personified by Ishihara while China is a brash teenager showing off his gold chains. The old man can still afford to hire the US Pacific Command as his bodyguard, and all China can do is rant about it and try to bully Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and others over resources.
Unlike many in North American and European media circles, many Tokyo based economists as well as expatriate entrepreneurs here do not assume that China will become an advanced middleclass nation like Japan. Though China does have great potential, Beijing in their view is also making the same mistakes Japan made decades ago.
[ Last edited by antimatter at 2010-9-28 09:45 PM ]