The age of the quadrillion is finally here.
After years of being stuck in millions, billions, trillions and other terms that usually come up short of twelve zeros, Japan has broken out, with its debt crossing the magical 15 zero barrier.
Japan’s public debt exceeded 1 quadrillion yen — or 1,000 trillion yen ($10.39 trillion) — for the first time in June, Finance Ministry data showed last week.
Those are eye-popping sums even if you consider that a dollar fetches 96 yen today and the U.S. has a much higher public debt burden in dollar terms.
That is twice the sum of all goods and services produced by the country in a year, or GDP. It also means if every Japanese citizen were to try to pay it off, they would have to shell out at least 7,895,172 yen.
The usage of these mind-boggling numbers has increased ever since the financial crisis of 2008 prompted major central banks to print money to support their economies, through quantitative easing.