When a sailor hits a dead spot where the wind refuses to blow he cays he is “in irons.” Japan’s economy sailed into the irons this past quarter when its GDP declined for the second quarter in a row and officially signaled a recession. GDP fell 0.8% in the third quarter after shrinking 0.7% in the second on an annualized basis. This marks the fourth recession Japan has endured since the global crisis hit in 2008.
Following so soon on the heels of massive stimulus, the recession should strike a death blow to mainstream monetary theory. Abenomics, the economic recovery plan that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched in 2012, was the poster child for mainstream monetary theory. Japan would wash away deflation and decline with a torrent of new money.