They call it the "D Word." For more than a decade--ever since the bubble burst in the early 1990s, sending prices for basic goods and services plummeting--Japanese prime ministers have been dreaming of a day when they could announce the end of deflation, a rare and crippling syndrome in which falling prices sap a nation's buying energy and investing confidence.
I've visited a lot of places around the world, but none quite as strange as North Korea. I realized that just a few hours after our arrival in the capital city of Pyongyang, as I looked down from my box seat in the stadium where they hold the Arirang Games, a multimedia spectacle staged over several weeks every year to showcase the virtues of the North Korean system.
Ammar will tell you he's proud to be carrying a gun. His father was a brigadier in Saddam Hussein's Army, a man who saw combat in his country's several wars, and from an early age Ammar had accompanied him to the shooting range. "I got used to the sound of guns then," Ammar says.