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Japan ups stimulus package to 10 trillion

JAPAN is considering taking additional measures to shore up its recession-hit economy, with fresh spending likely to top 10 trillion yen (US$109 billion), a local newspaper reported yesterday.

The report comes as the world's second-largest economy is likely to have contracted an annualized 11.7 percent in the October-December quarter, hit by the collapse in global demand. Japan's Cabinet Office is due to release gross domestic product data for the quarter today.

The extra economy-boosting measures will focus on public works spending, the daily Yomiuri newspaper, Japan's top-selling daily, reported without citing sources.

The measures would also include spending to boost the use of solar energy at homes and public buildings, following similar green plans by President Barack Obama to improve energy efficiency in the United States.

Officials at the Prime Minister's Office and the finance ministry could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In January, Japan passed an economy-supporting budget that includes a controversial cash payout to taxpayers totaling 2 trillion yen. The government hopes that the cash handout will stimulate sagging consumer spending.

But critics called it a lavish waste of public money.

Japan's parliament is debating a record 88.5 trillion yen budget for the fiscal year starting in April. If the budget is passed, Prime Minister Taro Aso will announce the extra economic measures, according to the Yomiuri.

The government aims to submit a budget proposal to parliament in April outlining the additional spending.


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