El agujero negro de la política japonesa

Durante varias semanas, el Primer Ministro japonés, Junichiro Koizumi, insistió en que nombaría a un "esforzado luchador contra la inflación" para encabezar el Banco de Japón (BDJ). Sin embargo, eligió a un hombre impregnado del conservadurismo del BDJ. Según Deepak Lal, la timidez de Koizumi no es personal, sino que refleja la irresponsabilidad asfixiante de las estructuras políticas japonesas.

Desde un punto de vista exclusivamente económico, sacar a Japón de su depresión sería sencillo. Los funcionarios tendrían que liquidar las inversiones de bajo rendimiento que constituyen la herencia de la burbuja de los precios de los activos de fines de los ochenta y después limpiar las ruinas que quedaron en el sistema financiero. Como lo demuestran los recientes ejemplos de las crisis financieras en Corea y Tailandia, lo que se necesita es una voluntad política a la altura de la tarea.

Pero el descuento de activos en Corea y Tailandia, aunque grande, no fue ni de cerca de la magnitud de lo que se necesita en Japón. Durante una cena en 1999, Paul Volcker, expresidente de la Reserva Federal de los EU, calculó que la magnitud de la limpieza financiera sería de más del 100% del PIB anual de Japón. Se necesita un político muy valiente para proponer que se pierda un año de producción económica. Por lo tanto, no es de sorprender que los líderes japoneses eviten el problema como si fuera un charco lodoso.

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