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Aso to plan another stimulus package

JAPAN'S Prime Minister Taro Aso ordered his government yesterday to compile fresh stimulus measures to help lift the country out of recession.

Aso, who has repeatedly said that restoring Japan's economy is the top priority of his government, has launched two stimulus packages since taking office in September.

Yet a third package is needed to lift the world's second-largest economy out of recession, on top of about 12 trillion yen (US$122 billion) in public spending announced last year, Aso told a news conference.

"Japan is still facing the economic crisis," Aso said. "We plan to draw up new measures and present them to the public as soon as possible." Aso said the new measures should be ready by mid-April, along with a supplementary budget plan to finance the package. He said the upcoming package would adopt "bold new ideas," but declined to give a price tag or other details.

The government last week passed a record 88.5-trillion-yen budget for the next fiscal year, starting in April. Earlier packages included measures to boost employment and public works projects, as well as cash handout to boost demand.

Aso said the new stimulus package would aim to keep the economy from sinking further, to create employment and alleviate the public's pain, and to provide support for future growth.

The announcement comes just hours after key indicators showed that Japan's economy deteriorated further in February.

Aso is also expected to map out the stimulus measures at the upcoming Group of 20 summit in London.


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