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'Seven years of gloom'

ONE of Japan's top economists has made the stark prediction that the global recession could last another seven years.

Eisuke Sakakibara, Japan's former top currency official, says the world "is set for a long-term structural slump reminiscent of the 1870s".

The official -- who is known as "Mr Yen" -- believes that governments around the world are putting fiscal austerity ahead of restoring stable growth.