TOKYO (dpa) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s (AP pic, below) government is considering a new economic stimulus package worth 3.5 trillion yen (29.2 billion dollars), local media reported Thursday, in one of his first policy moves since being reappointed as premier.
The package is expected to earmark one trillion yen for the recovery of the disaster-struck regions of north-eastern Japan, which were devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, Jiji Press reported, citing unnamed sources.
The government is also likely to allocate 250 billion yen to livelihood support and measures to bolster consumer spending.
The grant is designed to help local governments and shopping district operators to issue vouchers to encourage people to spend money, Jiji said.
About 170 billion yen is to be earmarked for measures to counter a declining birth rate and other steps to revitalise local economies, the report said.
Tokyo will also expand Japan Finance Corp’s low interest loan and credit guarantee to help the business reconstruction and financing of small- and medium-sized companies that have been pressured by growing import costs due to the weaker yen, the report added.
The yen has lost 41 per cent of its value against the dollar since Abe took office two years ago.
Abe, who was sworn in as premier on Wednesday for a third term, said he will “give the highest priority to the economy” after Japan fell into recession.
The economy shrank at an annualised pace of 1.9 per cent in the July-to-September quarter and 6.7 per cent in the April-to-June quarter. Abe’s cabinet was to green-light the stimulus package on Saturday, nearly two weeks after his conservative Liberal Democratic Party won a resounding victory in parliamentary elections, Jiji said.