World's top 5 economies: Most Americans already think China is No. 1

On Feb. 14, China was recognized as the world's second-largest economy after the United States. Americans are already convinced that the US has fallen behind China.

3. Japan, $5.47 trillion

It sounds like bad news for Japan. The land of the rising sun saw its economy shrink at a 1.1 percent annual rate during the past three months of 2010, bringing its GDP for the year to $5.47 trillion. The news wasn't a surprise – data last August revealed that Japan's economy had fallen behind China's.

But Japanese officials are welcoming the news, report local media. Japan Today reports that Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano today gave "an upbeat view on the prospects for Japan despite its pausing economic recovery."

"We are not engaging in economic activities to vie for ranking but to enhance people’s lives. From that point of view, we welcome China’s economic advancement as a neighboring country," Mr. Edano told a press conference today, echoing the remarks of analysts and economists from last summer when the news was first announced.

“China’s domestic expansion is very positive for Japan’s economy,” Takashi Shiono, an economist at Credit Suisse in Tokyo, told the Monitor in August. “While some Japanese people might feel kind of envious, this is a huge opportunity for Japanese companies.”

And Japanese civilians also appear upbeat, at least in comments posted to online articles. Said one commenter on Japan Today: "Being tied to the largest growing economy on earth which is China will only bring abundant opportunities to smart Japanese that don't hold sour grapes due to China's success."

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