Japan stimulus package swells to $120bn in Abenomics reboot
Nikkei -- Dec 06
The Japanese government approved 13.2 trillion yen ($121 billion) worth of public stimulus spending on Thursday, with the economy due for a total infusion of 26 trillion yen if private-sector and other outlays are factored in.

The sum is a step up from the amount originally expected to come from the government's budget -- more than 10 trillion yen. Investment in public works accounts for 6 trillion yen of the total, including natural disaster recovery and prevention projects.

More broadly, the package is meant to strengthen the economy against a possible cool-down period after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and other risks such as the U.S.-China trade war.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made his case for the package in a policy meeting on Thursday morning, calling it a "powerful" set of measures suitable as the first stimulus of the new Imperial era that started this year.

"We should not miss this chance," Abe said. "Now is the time to accelerate Abenomics and seek to overcome the challenges facing us."

A key pillar of the package will be enhancing preparedness for natural disasters like the strong typhoon that hit in October. The government plans to beef up flood protections and remove roadside utility poles to make way for vehicles in emergencies. Some money will also go toward rebuilding Okinawa's Shuri Castle, a World Heritage site that burned down at the end of October.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a meeting of the economy and fiscal policy council in Tokyo on Dec. 5. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

The size of the spending plan and the speed at which it came together raised questions for some, given Japan's struggle to rein in its public debt.

事業規模26兆円の大型経済対策が閣議決定されました。  5日午後に開かれた臨時閣議で、政府は国と地方などの財政支出が約13兆円となる経済対策を決定しました。民間の支出も合わせると事業規模は26兆円に上り、災害からの復旧・復興として河川の堤防の強化などを進めます。また、経済が下振れするリスクに備えるため、農林水産物の輸出支援なども行います。「就職氷河期」世代を支援するため、国家公務員の中途採用枠を設けるなど就労促進を目指す取り組みも盛り込まれました。
News sources: Nikkei, ANNnewsCH
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