worst economy japan
  • Measure: Government debt
  • 2013 estimate: 244%

Japan is likely to grow faster than most other developed nations this year, despite a slowdown in the third quarter, but sky-high debt continues to plague the world's third largest economy.

The country is implementing an ambitious program -- known as Abenomics -- designed to end decades of stagnation and falling prices. It includes massive monetary stimulus and fresh government spending. In a nod to fiscal discipline, the government is also hiking a consumption tax.

Related: Year of Abenomics delivers Japanese revival

For many years, ultra low interest rates allowed Japan to issue debt and not be overwhelmed by servicing payments. Debt is forecast at 244% of GDP in 2013. By contrast, government debt in the U.S. is projected to be 105% of GDP this year, while Greece's debt is estimated at 175%.

First published January 10, 2014: 11:27 AM ET
Source: International Monetary Fund
General government gross debt, as a percentage of GDP.

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