The Ministry of Finance Japan (MOFJ) said that default on government bonds denominated in the local currency of advanced economies such as Japan and the US was inconceivable. We try to explain why is that, somewhat in different way from MOFJ’s explanation. This paper has examined the creation and extinction of money and the redemption and refinancing of government bonds in the framework of the four-sector balance sheet. The government spending generates reserves in the financial sector, which can in effect only be used to purchase the next Japanese government bonds. Since there is no other use for them, this means that new government bonds can always be sold and maturing bonds can always be refinanced with moderate interest rate. This is the key advantage of monetary sovereignty. On the other hand, like an Euro member state, if a country adopts a common or foreign currency and abandons its monetary sovereignty, it may be unable to refinance its government bonds and be forced to default, as euro reserves acquired by the financial institutions of the euro area as a whole through the spending of a member state are not necessarily used to purchase the state’s bonds.
economic policy report 019en