Officials in Tokyo acknowledged Monday that China's economy was indeed the second-largest in 2010, not Japan. The country has been in the economic doldrums since the 1990s, but still the news had to sting like Japanese horseradish. Japan never recovered from its own property and housing bubbles. A succession of prime ministers has struggled with a stagnant economy, government debt and an aging population. The country's credit rating was downgraded last month, a humiliating prelude to Monday's announcement. China is where the jobs growth is. Indeed, China is following the Japanese path, with a reputation for copying other people's ideas before they developed their national brands of excellence. The United States' gross domestic product is two-and-a-half times the size of China's, but the furious pace of growth stirs predictions of China surpassing the U.S. as the world's largest economy by 2030. The competition is intense. The consequences are real.
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