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Japan’s ‘Lost Decade’ Holds Lessons for Europe: Asia Investor

Thursday, 28 Feb 2013 | 1:42 AM ET
Europe's 'Lost Decade' Continues: Beazley
Charles Beazley, CEO of Nikko Asset Management, says the Italian election results are the continuation of a "lost decade" in Europe.

Europe is embroiled in a Japan-style "lost decade" and must solve its political problems before the economic crisis can be resolved, according to Charles Beazley, CEO of Nikko Asset Management, which specializes in Asian equity and fixed income and has $154 billion assets under management..


"I think it is a lost decade in Europe in the political sense, and how quickly they are able to change that, I do not know," Beazley told CNBC on Wednesday.

Beazley concurred with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's view that the euro zone requires greater political unity to thrive, but said national elections such as Italy's this week suggest public opinion is running in the counter direction.

(Read More: Italy Stalemate Could Mean Chaos for Euro Zone)

"The forces politically are extremely centrifugal, and what Mario Draghi is saying is that the long-term solution is centripetal. I think that is the conflict we are seeing politically right now," said Beazley.

"So while you have the economic focus on the crisis right now, the political context I think is unchanging for at least a decade."

Beazley said Japan is now out of her crisis, and highlighted that in contrast to Europe, Japan's ruling party was elected with a large majority, giving it the potential to enact unconventional monetary and fiscal policies and pass reform measures.

(Read More: An Aggressive Bank of Japan Sooner Than You Think)

"I think what you are seeing now in Japan is quite interesting… The population is essentially saying 'we are tired of the old policies, we want a change,' and now there is a consensus in Japan that is built around what needs to be done. That is quite powerful," he said.

Beazley said Japan's example showed political change may not occur quickly in Europe.

"While you have the economic focus on the crisis right now, the political context I think is unchanging for at least a decade," he said.

"We need to remember… democracy can take a long time."

Also on Wednesday, David Rubenstein, co-founder of the private equity firm Carlyle Group, said Europe remains attractive to investors.

Rubenstein described the region as the world's "largest emerging market".

"Prices have been beaten down. You can buy things at distressed prices now so I think it is a very attractive market in which to invest," Rubenstein told CNBC.

He added that he was more nervous about some countries in Europe than others, but did not elaborate.

(Read More: How Investors Should Play the 'Italian Panic')

- By CNBC's Katy Barnato

Contact Europe: Economy

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