Number Two Economy, Yet Still Catching Up

The writing appeared on the wall early this year, when preliminary 2009 data suggested the Chinese economy would overtake Japan's within a matter of months to become the world's second-largest.

China's 2009 gross domestic product (GDP) was close to US$ 5 trillion, nearly even with Japan's US$ 5.1 trillion.

The Japanese government all but acknowledged being bumped to third place when it released quarterly statistics August 16 and suggested China's GDP would exceed Japan's by year's end.

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