NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- China and Korea are emerging from third-world status on the same path as Japan. Japan's rapid growth was founded on low-quality, low-priced products. In the 1980s, as its economy strengthened, Japan developed large trade surpluses and produced substantial increases in GDP per person.The predictable result was yen appreciation and associated product cost increases. However, Japan's product quality improvements neutralized its yen-appreciated cost increases. As a result, many Japanese corporations grew into powerful global giants. In 1989, Japan's equity and real estate bubbles popped. Given its rapid growth, the burst was not surprising. What has been surprising is the unabated weakening of Japan's once great global companies. Over the past five years, these companies have continued their long share price decline.