Source: BBC.NEWS

China has overtaken Japan as the world’s second-biggest economy.

Japan’s economy was worth $5.474 trillion (£3.414 trillion) at the end of 2010, figures from Tokyo have shown. China’s economy was closer to $5.8 trillion in the same period.

Japan has been hit by a drop in exports and consumer demand, while China has enjoyed a manufacturing boom.

At its current rate of growth, analysts see China replacing the US as the world’s top economy in about a decade.

„It’s realistic to say that within 10 years China will be roughly the same size as the US economy,” said Tom Miller of GK Dragonomics, a Beijing-based economic consultancy.

The US economy is currently almost three times the size of the Chinese economy in dollar terms. The UK’s economy is estimated to be the world’s sixth largest.

Overseas risk

Japan played down the significance of the shift in the economic league table, and the fact that it has been replaced as the second-largest economy for the first time in more than four decades.

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image of Stephanie Flanders Stephanie Flanders Economics editor, BBC News 

„As an economy, we are not competing for rankings but working to improve citizens’ lives,” said Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano.

The minister added that China’s booming economy was welcome news for Japan as a neighbouring country.

China is now Japan’s main trading partner and is increasingly important to companies such as electronics firm Sony and carmakers like Honda and Toyota.

However, Mr Yosano said that Japan needed to watch closely „risks from overseas economies and currency moves”.

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