Back in May 2011, together with forecasting Japan’s most epic case of quantitative easing ever unleashed, we presented the absurd, if inevitable, thought experiment of a country that would soon cross into the twilight zone of total sovereign debt numbers that no longer even fit on a simple pocket calculator. The country of course is Japan, and the debt number is one quadrillion. As of last night, the absurd has become real as Japan has officially announced its total government debt rose by 1.7% to¥1,008,600,000,000,000.00.
This represents about $10.5 trillion, is an amount larger than the economies of Germany, France and the U.K. combined, and is about 230% of Japan’s GDP although at this point who cares: Japan will never repay its debt and the best it can hope for is to inflate it away, which ties in with the first forecast of ever greater “easing” by the BOJ until fiat after fiat loses all meaning in a world that is so hopelessly in debt that destroying the very concept of modern money will ultimately be the only recourse.
Japan’s Debt Exceeds 1 Quadrillion Yen as Abe Mulls Tax Rise
The country’s outstanding public debt including borrowings reached a record 1,008.6 trillion yen ($10.46 trillion) as of June 30, up 1.7 percent from three months earlier, the finance ministry said in Tokyo today. Larger than the economies of Germany, France and the U.K. combined, the amount includes 830.5 trillion yen in government bonds.
“Ballooning public debt underlines the need for Abe to push for a sales-tax increase,” said Long Hanhua Wang, an economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Tokyo. “This is a minimum policy requirement for his government.”
The levy on consumption is due to be raised to 8 percent in April from the current 5 percent, followed by an increase to 10 percent in October 2015. Abe said he would make a final call on the plan after the release of revised second-quarter gross domestic product data on Sept. 9.
The sales-tax law enacted last year gives Abe the power to postpone the rise should he conclude that the economy is unable to weather the austerity measure.