Japan's Cities Are Sinking In Debt

The country's next big financial mess is here

Among the world's great metropolises, no city seems better managed or more prosperous than Tokyo. The smoothly running subway, the immaculate parks, the unobtrusive police booths at every major corner, the absence of dangerous slums, the well-maintained schools--it all gives the impression of a carefully planned, well-tended place, a marvel of urban engineering. Western visitors are always hard-pressed to find evidence of Japan's crisis when they roam the Tokyo streets, taking in the sights of the Ginza or sipping latte from one of Starbucks' newest outlets.

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