Japan Cabinet approves $61 billion in new economic stimulus measures

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Japan Cabinet OKs $61 billion economic stimulus

TOKYO — Japan’s Cabinet on Friday approved a 5.05 trillion yen ($61 billion) stimulus package aimed at boosting the country’s flagging economic recovery.

The package, to be submitted this month to parliament for approval, follows 915 billion yen ($11 billion) in measures that Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s government has already approved.

Recent economic indicators in Japan have shown deteriorating exports, industrial production and corporate sentiment. Consumer prices have been falling — known as deflation — while the yen has been steadily climbing against foreign currencies, hurting exporters.

The latest package includes measures to boost employment, help small and medium sized businesses, and support regional economies. It also calls for ongoing support of programs to boost sales of environmentally friendly products to consumers.

Tokyo has recently made several major moves to bolster its economy. Earlier this week Japan’s central bank cut its key interest rate to virtually zero, and last month it intervened in currency markets to weaken the yen.

The yen’s strength, which can weigh on its export-driven economy, is a major concern for the country’s businesses, but the moves have had little effect so far. The yen has risen to fresh 15-year highs against the dollar this week.

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