Fresh data released by Japan ' s Finance Ministry show that the country ' s national debt has topped one quadrillion yen for the first time ever in the second quarter of 2013.
On Friday, the ministry provided the figure of 1.008 quadrillion yen by the end of June that amounts to about USD 10.42 trillion at current exchange rates. The record figure underlines challenges facing the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to curb Japan’s massive borrowing. The figure is also over 200 percent of what Japan’s economy, which is the third-largest in the world, produces every year. The East Asian country has the largest debt load among industrialized nations. The largest part of Tokyo’s debt is from long- and short-term government bonds, as well as other borrowing. The Japanese ministry released the data a day after the country vowed to cut its budget and get spending under control. The surprising figure is nearly two percent higher than the previous quarter. Since most of Japan's low-interest debt is held domestically rather than by international creditors, Tokyo has not faced a public debt crisis like the one seen across the eurozone. However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and others have warned about Japan’s ever-increasing borrowing, after a series of sovereign credit rating downgrades in recent years. The IMF has also urged Japan to adopt a “credible” fiscal plan in an effort to repair its books, including raising sales taxes to produce new revenue.