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Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Quadrillion In Debt? WTF Japan

Even being a huge of Walt Disney Comics Uncle Scrooge (created by Carl Barks) (I have nearly every American-produced Uncle Scrooge comic book published) who is purported to be worth one multiplujillion, nine obsquatumatillion, six hundred twenty-three dollars and sixty-two cents (according to a Time magazine article) (Yes, really), and also being the proud possessor of over 800 Richie Rich comics, you might think I would be used to huge numbers.

I even know that a google is a 1 followed by 100 zeroes, and like most geeks knew about this decades and decades ago.

And yet... I never, ever thought I would hear about, a country—let alone Japan—having a debt of over 1-Quadrillion.

Granted that's in YEN and not US dollars. But.. in US bucks, let's see:

A Japanese government debt of ¥1.009 quadrillion is equal to US $10.44 trillion.

Holy crap.

I owe $47 to Visa and I'm late on a payment by a couple of days and I get a phone call reminding me of the privilege I am afforded in being a credit card owner and the responsibility I owe myself to ensure that payment is made on time.

Obviously Japan never had to deal with Visa.

How the fug do you get a debt of ¥1.009 quadrillion is amazing and still have people allow you to buy goods and services on credit?
People, ducks and countries do many crazy things with their money. 

Look... we all know that some of that debt is part of the massive clean-up required after the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and possibly the nuclear power generating facility in Fukushima... and maybe it has something to do with a crappy fall in the economy.... hey... riddle me this, Batman... but if a lot of countries around the world suffered the ignominy of a recession, depression or near bankruptcy, which countries were making money?

Anyhow... the ¥1.009 quadrillion debt as of June 30, 2013 is up from ¥991.601 trillion ($10,301,794,580,383.0) three months earlier.

In three months Japan's debt rose over 9-trillion yen ($93.5 billion)? While I might guess that some of that is due to interest added to any loans, that's still a hell of a lot of debt.

The average Joe Suzuki and Andrew Joseph have struggled mightily with debt - in my case, for these past eight years for reasons not entirely of my own making, and so I have had to restructure my finances... otherwise I would have declared bankruptcy a long time ago... Wither Japan?

Does the government actually foresee a day when it might not be in debt?

Anyone can run a country.

Bit not everyone can run it well.

Granted every single person coming up to take leadership of Japan will face a huge debt, so they already are saddled with issues... so... when is it time to actually do something to reduce and eliminate debt?

By the way... In a Wall Street Journal article posted on-line on August 9, 2013, the writer notes that: "A Finance Ministry official said it’s the first time total debt has risen above ¥1 quadrillion since the yen became Japan’s official currency in 1871."

I'm not a super-genius, or even a genius... merely a sub-genius... but I'm pretty sure that Japan has never had a ¥1-quadrillion debt ever - even before it went to the yen as its currency in 1871.

The article could simply have stated that - which actually did in the second line of the article. I think the writer was trying to mention that the YEN is not that old a currency...

Whatever. Minor bitch-slap. Hey! Maybe the Finance Ministry official is goofball who made the mistake! 

Oh well...  It's not like I'm not guilty of confusing writing, eh?

And finally... although I don't say it enough (or ever) - whenever I need to get a quick global exchange rate, I go to It's a damn good resource.

Anyhow... what's next, Japan? One zillion?
Poor old Japan - the Land of the Rising Sun and debt.

Andrew Joseph

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