Urgence budgétaire au Japon

TOKYO – Quand on lui a demandé s'il avait lu un classique de l'économie, un ouvrage de Paul Samuelson que pratiquement tous les étudiants de première année de cette discipline connaissent, le ministre des Finances et vice Premier ministre japonais Naoto Kan a répondu, "J'en ai lu une dizaine de pages". Il est vrai qu'aucun manuel ne donne toutes les réponses dont a besoin un ministre des Finances dans la situation actuelle de post-crise, notamment face aux défis impressionnants auxquels est confronté le Japon. Néanmoins beaucoup de Japonais ont été stupéfaits d'apprendre que leur ministre des Finances a attendu d'occuper son poste pour aborder les b-a-ba de l'économie.

Kan a rejoint le cabinet du Premier ministre Yukio Hatoyama en janvier. Militant des droits civiques durant la plus grande partie de sa carrière, il est l'un des rares membres du gouvernement Hatoyama à avoir une expérience ministérielle, ayant été pendant 10 mois ministre de la Santé et de la Sécurité sociale en 1996. Débatteur redoutable, on parle fréquemment de lui comme candidat à la succession de Hatoyama si ce dernier était amené à abandonner son poste, étant donné la chute du taux d'approbation de sa politique dans les sondages et la détérioration de ses relations avec Ichiro Ozawa, la cheville ouvrière du DPJ (le Parti démocratique du Japon) dont il est membre.

Kan est devenu ministre des Finances à la démission soudaine de son prédécesseur, Hirohisa Fujii, qui a avancé des raisons de santé. Mais ses premiers pas ont été malheureux : lors de sa première conférence de presse il a appelé à une baisse du yen, une déclaration qui a été immédiatement désavouée par Hatoyama.

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