Viva Japan!

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Three days after the game, people are still talking about Sunday's final of the Women's World Cup of soccer. Japan scored an upset over the U.S.

It would have been nice to see my country win. But I must confess that, as a Californian, I was rooting for Japan.

My rooting wasn't just about sympathy for the country in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami earlier this year. It wasn't even about California's historic ties to Japan (which were detailed in this Prop Zero post from Larry Gerston).

My feelings are about self-interest.

California -- and in particular, the state economy -- needs Japan to rebound. Quickly. Californians may not know it but Japan is among our top four trading partners (along with China, Canada and Mexico).

California exported $12.2 billion in 2010 -- a big figure but a drop from earlier in the past decade. And California's economy is the most export-oriented of any American state.

The economic disruption from the quake and tsunami threatens a significant drop in that number this year.  The sooner the Japanese return to normal -- and to something approaching normal life -- the better for California.

Let's hope this soccer victory gives them a push on the road to recovery, since California needs an economic recovery too.

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