In some ways, Japan is an impressive role model. It’s post-World War II economic renaissance shows how strong growth is possible if you combine a market economy with the rule of law, while also not going overboard with taxes, spending, and regulation.
But the Japanese economic engine has been sputtering in recent years. Indeed, ever since a property bubble burst in the late 1980s, Japan’s economy has been in the doldrums, and its politicians deserve much of the blame.

They’ve engaged in repeated binges of so-called Keynesian stimulus. But running up the national credit card hasn’t worked any better in Japan than it did for President Barack Obama. Instead of economic rejuvenation, Japan is now saddled with record levels of debt.