For the first time in 70 years, Japanese auto giant Toyota will report a loss, confirming in many people's minds that the current American recession is global and has now arrived in Japan.
Toyota's success has long been a point of pride to many Japanese, particularly in a culture where corporations are almost like feudal clans that people in Japanese culture strong identify with.
Until recently in Japan, it was still possible for many ordinary Japanese to ignore the pain that was happening across the Pacific in the United States; but Toyota's loss, coupled with the reality than many Japanese won't be getting their coveted year-end bonus this year, has made this crisis real to people in Japan.
Japan, however, is no stranger to economic slumps, having experienced the collapse of its so-called "bubble economy" in the late 1980s.
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