El reflejo japonés de Corea del Sur

SEÚL – Dados los desafíos abrumadores que enfrenta Japón, no queda más que admirar la determinación del primer ministro, Shinzo Abe, para poner fin al largo periodo de dos décadas de estancamiento económico del país. Su estrategia de las –“tres flechas”: una enorme expansión monetaria, mayor gasto público y reformas estructurales– es teoréticamente sólida. Sin embargo, solo se ha lanzado hasta ahora una flecha y media.

El paquete de estímulo se contrarresta mediante aumentos de los impuestos al consumo destinados a reducir la enorme carga de deuda –proceso que conducirá a muchos consumidores japoneses a ajustar su gasto a la baja. Falta aún introducir las reformas estructurales prometidas en el sector energético, el mercado laboral y en las políticas de competencia, y parece improbable que surtan efecto pronto. Algo que es más preocupante es la realidad inalterable –como una población que envejece y disminuye rápidamente –, que limitará el crecimiento económico de Japón en las siguientes décadas.

Sin embargo, los problemas de Japón no son únicos. En efecto, su vecino y rival histórico, Corea del Sur, se dirige hacia la misma dirección. La diferencia es que Corea del Sur puede tener tiempo todavía para mejorar estas tendencias, y evitar el atolladero como el de Japón de bajo crecimiento permanente y decadencia de largo plazo.

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