To compair Japan and the US is like compairing oil and water. Everyone wants to make the assumption that we could go like Japan, but few really take the time to see why we won't.
1. Japan is a net exporter, the US is a net importer. The Japannese want a weak currency so that it will drive exports. The US wanted and possibly still wants a strong dollar (the policies that are in place don't seem so though) to keep prices low so that consumers continue to purchase.
2. The Japannese are net savers while the US is net spenders. The Japannese have always had the ability to spend, but chooses not to, while the US has the want to, but not the ability, unless it is on credit.
3. The Japannese polititions have always had the citizens in mind when making policies, however they have messed up on the execution of them on several occations. THe US polititions have always looked out for themselves and their friends, and have never made a bad decsion in those respects(Stealing money from the taxpayer and putting it into their own pockets)
4. The majority of Japannese debt is held by the Jappannese, while the majority of US debt is held by the Jappanese, China, Russia, Middle East, South America, etc.
5. The only thing that is keeping this from popping is the fact that the US has world reserve status. Without that we have nothing, no savings, no exports, no trust in Government, very few internal bond holders.
For those that think that the US wants a weak dollar, think about $5/gallon gas and then think again on what the Fed's would do or say. That would kill the growth that we have gained. dammed if they do, dammed if they don't. No matter what it is just a matter of time.