Le trou noir politique du Japon

Le Premier ministre japonais Junichiro Koizumi a affirmé pendant plusieurs semaines qu'il allait nommer un « combattant dédié de l'inflation » pour diriger la Banque du Japon. Au lieu de cela, il a choisi un homme imprégné des méthodes conservatrices de la Banque du Japon. La timidité de Mr. Koizumi n'est pas personnelle mais, comme l'indique Deepak Lal, elle reflète l'irresponsabilité étouffante des structures politiques du Japon.

D'un point de vue purement économique, il serait extrêmement simple de sortir le Japon de sa longue crise économique. Les fonctionnaires liquideraient les investissements de faible retour qui forment l'héritage des illusions des prix des actifs de la fin des années 1980, puis balaieraient les décombres du système financier. Comme l'attestent les exemples des récentes crises financières de la Corée et de la Thaïlande, seule une volonté politique à l'ampleur de la tâche pourrait venir à bout de la crise.

Mais les passages par profits et pertes en Corée et en Thaïlande, tout en étant importants, n'étaient nulle part aussi massifs qu'ils auraient dû l'être au Japon. Lors d'un dîner qui a eu lieu en 1999, Paul Volcker, l'ancien président de la Banque de réserve fédérale américaine, a estimé que l'ampleur de ce ménage financier excédait 100 % du PNB annuel du Japon. C'est un politicien courageux qui peut proposer de perdre une année de production économique ! Cela n'a donc rien de surprenant que les dirigeants japonais éludent le problème comme s'il s'agissait d'éviter une flaque de boue.

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