The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper assesses the sustainability of Japan’s fiscal position. The simulations indicate that, even if the government’s pension reform plan is fully implemented, the initial budget imbalance, combined with pressures from population aging, would lead to explosive increases in government deficits and debt. Present-value calculations point to a fiscal “gap” of about 4 percent of GDP, indicating the combination of tax increases and/or spending cuts that would be required to generate a sustainable long-run fiscal position. Finally, the paper presents an illustrative package of tax and spending measures that could be implemented to close this gap.