Le Japon peut-il redémarrer ?

CAMBRIDGE – Les récentes mesures du Premier ministre japonais Shinzo Abe (augmenter de façon spectaculaire la stimulation monétaire, reporter une augmentation de l'impôt sur la consommation et programmer des élections anticipées à la mi-décembre) ont remis son pays à l'avant-garde d'un intense débat politique. Le problème est simple : comment des économies avancées vieillissantes peuvent-elles relancer leur croissance après la crise financière ? Sa solution ne l'est pas.

Il est maintenant clair que le premier train de réformes d'Abe (appelées « Abenomics ») a échoué à générer une inflation durable. Des espoirs de reprise durable ont fait place à deux trimestres consécutifs de croissance négative. La question est de savoir si les Abenomics 2.0 vont remettre l'économie japonaise sur la voie de la prospérité.

Mon point de vue est que les « trois flèches » des Abenomics 1.0 avaient fondamentalement vu juste : une politique monétaire qui « emploie tous les moyens » pour rétablir l'inflation, une politique budgétaire de soutien et des réformes structurelles pour stimuler la croissance à long terme. Mais bien que la banque centrale, dirigée par le Gouverneur Haruhiko Kuroda, ait rempli sa part du contrat, les deux autres « flèches » des Abenomics ont manqué leur objectif.

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