Japan’s finance ministry seems to take a perverse delight in pointing out the world’s worst debt optics: gross central government borrowings equivalent to 24 years of tax receipts, or about $80,000 for every man, woman and child. (The next worst is Ireland, with $60,000, according to Bloomberg.)
Mr Fujimaki cannot see a painless way out. His Japan Restoration party is a motley group spanning Toru Hashimoto, the gaffe-prone mayor of Osaka, and Kanji “Antonio” Inoki, a former wrestler. But the third-biggest force in the more powerful lower house of parliament is united, Mr Fujimaki says, by a belief that years of “socialist” rule have led Japan astray.
A rebirth is possible, once hyperinflation reduces the government’s quadrillion-yen debt to “peanuts” and a radically weaker currency draws manufacturers back home, he says.
Meanwhile the money is being squandered faster and faster. Taxes have been raised, but with an aging population and a money printing machine, it’s not enough.
Government ministers and the ruling coalition adopted the 95.88 trillion yen ($921 billion) budget proposal for the fiscal year starting April 1 at a meeting yesterday in Tokyo, Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters. Japan will issue 41.25 trillion yen of new revenue bonds.
… most of which are bought by the Bank of Japan. Stop me if this sounds familiar.
Revenue from bond sales will pay for 43 percent of next year’s budget, down from 46.3 percent this year… Debt-servicing costs — including interest payments for outstanding bond issuance — will rise to 23.3 trillion yen from 22.2 trillion yen this year, the documents show.
And even though the budget is being eaten up by social security, there’s still $200 million for terrorists.
Japan pledged more than $200 million in aid Saturday to help the Palestinian Authority, as representatives from 22 nations reiterated their support of the Palestinians’ quest for their own state.
Japan went big on foreign aid in the 80s, ranking behind the United States. It’s still handing out billions of dollars a year that it can’t afford.
It claims to be the third biggest donor to the Palestinian Authority after the US and EU dispensing $1.35 billion. That’s not a title worth contending for considering that Japan has a higher percentage of population below poverty level than many Muslim countries, including Morocco, Jordan and Indonesia.