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Japan can pay for rebuild: central bank governor

by Staff Writers
New York (AFP) April 13, 2011
Japan's economy suffered a big blow in the triple earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, but the country should have no problem financing reconstruction, the central bank chief said Thursday.

Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa conceded problems in the economic supply chain, power generation, tourism and other important sectors.

But he said the financial system could cope.

"As long as Japan continues to work tirelessly towards rebuilding it is unlikely that financing problems will arise," he said in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Shirakawa said the three-pronged disaster struck "at a time when Japan's economy was gradually returning" to strength. He said the disruption mean "it is inevitable" that production and supply will suffer.

And given the global nature of economy, closely linked countries such as China and the United States could also be affected. "The impact on supply chain could spread internationally," he said.

However, Shirakawa insisted that Japan has the resources to bounce back.

"Japanese society has shown resilience. The work of rebuilding has started to get underway gradually but steadily," he said.

"The first challenge is ensuring the necessary financing for rebuilding. In this regard, Japan has had an excess of saving over investment for a protracted period. From a macro-economic perspective, this financing will not be difficult," he said.

"Japan's capacity for foreign currency funding is extremely strong, given that the country is the biggest creditor nation in the world."

"Private financial institutions are fully able to meet an increase in financing demand for rebuilding. Meanwhile, Japanese government bonds have been issued quite smoothly," he said.

"Most private economists believe that Japan's GDP growth rate will turn positive again from the third quarter of 2011."

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