Who would not feel sorry for Japan. For years it spent a good part of its public diplomacy budget on wooing tourists and business from China, with laudable success. Now, a virus that was first identified in China, and associated mutants initially spotted in Britain, South Africa, Brazil, and most recently India, are prolonging the spread and have laid low its economy.
First quarter growth numbers published on Tuesday are dismal. The economy shrank an annualised 5.1 per cent from the prior quarter in the three months through March, ending a two-quarter streak of double-digit growth. That's worse than expected; economists had forecast a 4.5 per cent contraction.