El problema contable de Japón

TOKIO – En estos próximos años, se hará evidente que el Banco de Japón (BJ) monetizó varios billones de dólares de deuda pública de su país, lo que según la ortodoxia genera temor a que financiar el déficit fiscal (presente y pasado) con emisión monetaria genere inevitablemente niveles peligrosos de inflación. Pero es probable que todo se reduzca a una ligera suba de la inflación y el crecimiento, y que los mercados financieros ni se den por enterados.

La deuda pública japonesa asciende a más del 230% del PIB; e incluso después de deducir las tenencias de diversas entidades estatales (por ejemplo, el fondo de la seguridad social) todavía llega a alrededor del 140%. Esta montaña de deuda es el resultado inevitable de los cuantiosos déficits fiscales que ha mantenido Japón desde 1990. Y es una deuda que nunca se “devolverá” en el sentido normal del término.

Cifras provistas por el Fondo Monetario Internacional ilustran el porqué. Para devolver su deuda neta en 2030, incluso al 80% del PIB, Japón debería convertir el déficit primario (antes del pago de intereses de la deuda actual) de 2014, igual al 6% del PIB, en un superávit del 5,6% del PIB en 2020, y mantenerlo el resto de la década.

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