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OECD Economic Surveys: Japan 2013

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Japan 2013

OECD's 2013 Economic Survey of Japan examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. The special chapter is titled From tragedy to revitalisation.

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Restoring Japan's fiscal sustainability

With gross government debt surpassing 200% of GDP, Japan’s fiscal situation is in uncharted territory. In addition to robust nominal GDP growth, correcting two decades of budget deficits requires a large and sustained fiscal consolidation based on a detailed and credible multi-year plan that includes measures to control spending and raise revenue. On the spending side, reforms to contain ageing-related outlays are the priority, while the consumption tax should be the main source of additional revenue, given that its impact on economic activity is less negative than other taxes. The plan should target a primary budget surplus large enough to stabilise the public debt ratio by 2020. The fiscal policy framework should be improved to help reinforce confidence in Japan's fiscal position and prevent a run-up in interest rates. Higher consumption taxes should be accompanied by well-targeted social spending, including the introduction of an earned income tax credit, to prevent a rise in inequality and poverty.

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