Japan Cabinet OKs new stimulus package to pump up growth

TOKYO – Japan’s Cabinet approved a fresh economic stimulus package on Tuesday worth more than 28 trillion yen ($275 billion), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s latest effort to get the stalling recovery back on track.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced that the Cabinet endorsed the package Tuesday. It will be included in a supplementary budget for consideration by the parliament’s extraordinary session starting in September.

The package aims to raise Japan’s GDP by 1.3 per cent.

Abe said earlier Tuesday that the package was “an investment for the future.” It focuses on Japan’s agriculture and tourism, and on providing support for the child and elder care industry to enable more women to work full-time, as the labour force shrinks as the population ages.

Measures include improved wages for child and elder care workers and support for small-scale companies and low income families. The package also increases spending on infrastructure projects for tourism and for reconstruction of disaster zones, including parts of northeastern Japan devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and this year’s fatal earthquakes in southern Japan.

Since Abe took office in late 2012, he has sought to boost growth by pumping massive amounts of money into the world’s third-biggest economy. But lavish monetary easing and public works spending so far have failed to reignite growth as much as hoped.