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Worries mount over Japan

Tags: Japan
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The Bank of Japan took a bold step to revive its ailing economy and pull it out of the grip of deflation on Tuesday by announcing a $130-billion asset buying program. But many analysts warn that Japan's level of debt -- currently the highest in the world, with a debt-to-GDP ratio above 200 percent -- is putting the country on the same path as Greece.

"This year 25 percent of the federal balance sheet needs to be refinanced…we've already seen in the sovereign credit default swap markets, [Japan] is now at the highs of all the G7 countries and they've basically doubled year-over-year," Daryl Jones, Director of Research at Hedgeye tells BNN. "We're not suggesting a Greek-type scenario, but we are suggesting the reality of a Japanese economic recovery is probably similar to the Japanese winning a gold medal in Olympic hockey -- very low."

But other analysts warn that while Japan must address its fiscal problems, it has far more breathing room than countries like Greece and Portugal.

"I think all of the problems being cited by the bearish scenario are quite true…however I don't find it imploding or exploding at this time of the year," Seijiro Takeshita at Mizuho tells BNN. "This negative spin that people are putting…[saying] we will fall into the same state as Greece is totally appalling as far as arguments go."

He adds: "If this prolongs for the next four or five years then I understand the problem is right in front of our face, but there is a lot of room for maneuvering at the moment."

Concerns over Japan's debt ratio are nothing new, but the growing sovereign debt crisis in Europe has many investors concerned that weak economic growth mixed with an aging population will make it increasingly difficult for the country to solve its fiscal problems.

"Once the European nations realize that their only path forward is to restructure their on-balance sheet debts, shortly thereafter we think Japan is likely to have to restructure its debts," Kyle Bass, Founder of Hayman Capital Management, recently told BNN. "What's not arguable is the fact that they have the worst on balance sheet sovereign scenario in the world."

"If a Kindergartener were to look at Japan's balance sheet it wouldn't take a genius to see that they have a position that is untenable, they have a position they can't move out of. It's just a matter of time."

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