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Japan's Challenging Debt Dynamics


  • Yvan Guillemette


  • Jan Stráský



This working paper presents the background and the details of the simulations behind Box 1.4 of the May 2013 OECD Economic Outlook. A small simulation model is used to evaluate the contribution that the three pillars of the government’s strategy – fiscal consolidation, growth-boosting structural reforms and higher inflation – could make to reversing the rise in Japan’s public debt ratio, currently about 230% of GDP. The findings indicate that fiscal consolidation amounting to around 10 percentage points of GDP is necessary by 2020 to eliminate the primary deficit, as targeted in the current medium-term fiscal strategy. With moderately higher growth coming from increased female labour force participation and higher productivity growth, as well as inflation gradually rising to 2% thanks to unconventional monetary policy measures, the debt ratio would likely be put on a resolute downward trajectory by the end of this decade, although it is likely to remain around 200% of GDP in 2035. L'inquiétante évolution de la dette publique au Japon Ce document de travail présente la toile de fond et les détails des simulations derrière l’encadré 1.4 du numéro de Mai 2013 des Perspectives économiques de l’OCDE. Un modèle de simulation de petite taille est utilisé pour évaluer dans quelle mesure les trois piliers de la stratégie gouvernementale – consolidation budgétaire, réformes structurelles pour doper la croissance et inflation plus élevée – pourraient contribuer à renverser l’évolution du ratio d’endettement publique au Japon, actuellement autour de 230% du PIB. Les résultats indiquent qu’environ 10 points de PIB de consolidation budgétaire sont nécessaires d’ici 2020 pour éliminer le déficit primaire, tel que prévue par la stratégie fiscale à moyen terme. Avec une croissance accrue due à une augmentation de la participation des femmes au marché du travail, et à une inflation plus élevée due aux mesures de politique monétaire non conventionnelles, le ratio d’endettement serait vraisemblablement sur une pente résolument descendante d’ici la fin de la décennie, bien qu’il demeurerait quand même autour de 200% en 2035.

Suggested Citation

  • Yvan Guillemette & Jan Stráský, 2013. "Japan's Challenging Debt Dynamics," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1085, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1085-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Łukasz Rawdanowicz & Romain Bouis & Kei-Ichiro Inaba & Ane Kathrine Christensen, 2014. "Secular Stagnation: Evidence and Implications for Economic Policy," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1169, OECD Publishing.
    2. Naoyuki Yoshino & Uwe Vollmer, 2014. "The sovereign debt crisis: why Greece, but not Japan?," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 325-344, September.
    3. Randall S. Jones & Kohei Fukawa, 2015. "Achieving Fiscal Consolidation while Promoting Social Cohesion in Japan," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1262, OECD Publishing.

    More about this item


    arrow; budget; budget; consolidation; consolidation; croissance; debt; deficit; dette; déficit; fiscal; fiscal; flèche; growth; inflation; inflation; Japan; Japon; projection; projections; reform; réforme; simulation; simulation;

    JEL classification:

    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • H68 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt

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