Photo: Bloomberg

On Dec 29, 1989, the last trading day of the year, Japan’s Nikkei index closed at a record high of 38,916. It marked an effervescent end to a decade where loose monetary policy and rampant speculation saw real estate and stock prices soar.

Unbeknownst at the time, Japan’s bubble economy was on the brink of bursting and the Nikkei would never reach such heights again. By the following year, it had plummeted almost 40% and continued to decline as land prices nosedived.

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