Japan’s GDP per capita has grown steadily since the mid-20th century. Between 1968 and 2010, it was the second-largest economy in the world (it has since been surpassed by China).
As a result of the Asian financial crisis of 1997, GDP per capita plummeted; by January 1999, it had fallen to $20,200 (see graph). It grew slightly to $20,732 in September that year and remained fairly constant until 2002. The spike in GDP was due to an export-led recovery, with GDP growing by 2.6 per cent in 2005 and 2.2 per cent in 2006, then slowing to 2 per cent in 2007.
The global financial crisis of 2008 hit Japan hard mainly because of a decline in its exports and a dip in business investment.