The latest projections from the Japanese Finance Ministry regarding the fiscal year which started on April 1 make for sobering reading. They say that Japan’s “public” (funded) debt will probably rise by 5.8 percent this year - to 997.7 TRILLION Yen ($US 12.2 TRILLION at current exchange rates). Should these projections be even slightly on the optimistic side - and government financial projections always are - then Japan could easily be looking at a public debt of 1,000 TRILLION Yen by March 31, 2012.
There is another way of expressing 1,000 TRILLION. It is the same as ONE QUADRILLION.
The sheer magnitude of these numbers has long been a talking point for the watchers of international finance. Now, they are becoming very nervous indeed. The OECD has recently “urged” the Japanese government to “do something” about their deficits, especially in the wake of the earthquake disaster. Noting that Japanese sovereign debt is about to hit 204 percent of GDP, they suggested that Japan’s current sales tax be “at least” doubled from its present 5 percent to 10 percent. The Japanese Foreign Ministry politely declined to comment on this suggestion, contenting themselves with assuring the OECD that - “We will continue to work to maintain and secure trust in Japanese government bonds.”
At this, a line from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead comes to mind: "Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?" While this has been mostly a rhetorical question over the ages, G7 central planners are set to provide a definitive answer very soon.
(and people worry about the "bubble" in precious metals)