Repeating in second place is Mizuho Securities Group’s Tomochika Kitaoka, whose “deep insight into the Japanese economy, stock market, political system and monetary policy” earns one client’s praise. Another fan applauds the researcher’s “very data-driven style.” For his part, Kitaoka is not especially upbeat, dubbing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic revival plan merely “better than nothing.” While noting that Japan has posted “job creation with higher labor participation, nominal gross domestic product growth, a share-price rally and improving tax revenue,” the 38-year-old economist cautions that “real GDP and consumption have been disappointing the past three quarters.” Kitaoka is counseling that investors be patient. “We’re waiting for real wage hikes, labor reform, agricultural reform, further corporate tax cuts and a Trans-Pacific Partnership deal with the U.S. and other countries,” he says. “There are some time lags to see a strong wage number, possibly starting from the third quarter of 2015. It will also take time to realize the effects of the ‘third arrow’ of the prime minister’s economic policy.” Abe’s three-pronged strategy includes monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and structural reforms, which are expected to address regulatory overhaul of such sectors as agriculture, energy, the environment and health care.