News / Asia

Japan's Abe Unveils Massive Stimulus Plan

A security man stands by a road construction site in Tokyo. PM Shinzo Abe delivered a stimulus package of public works and other projects aimed at revitalizing the sagging economy, January 11, 2013.
A security man stands by a road construction site in Tokyo. PM Shinzo Abe delivered a stimulus package of public works and other projects aimed at revitalizing the sagging economy, January 11, 2013.
VOA News
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has unveiled a massive stimulus plan aimed at revitalizing the world's third largest economy.

Abe said the $117 billion stimulus package approved Friday would bring an immediate boost to the long-struggling economy, which fell back into recession last year.

"These measures will push up Japan's real GDP by around two percent and create jobs for approximately 600,000 people. This economic strategy is full-fledged, proving our strong will and clear commitment toward economic reform," Abe said.

The plan will increase spending on disaster recovery projects, public works, and financial aid to small businesses. It also proposes boosting defense spending for the first time in a decade.

It fulfills a major campaign promise for Abe, who came to power in a landslide election last month, vowing to boost Japan's economy and create jobs with big government spending plans.

While the stimulus is likely to have a positive short-term effect, many skeptics warn it will not foster long-term growth and will add to Japan's government debt, which is more than 200 percent of its gross domestic product.

Jiro Yamaguchi, a political science professor at Japan's Hokkaido University, says the plan is similar to that of previous governments, who tried unsuccessfully to spur economic growth.

"The previous Democratic Party government did similar policies, especially about the reconstruction after the earthquake. They spent a lot, but the system of implementation is quite outdated," he explained. "Abe just tried to add more money, but the target is very similar. His new package will not change the economic structure or provide innovation in the Japanese economy."

The stimulus includes a plan to increase spending on missiles, fighter jets, and helicopters to increase the capacity of the military. It comes as Tokyo is engaged in a bitter dispute with China over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

The dispute has worsened in recent months, and there has been worry that Abe, who is known for his sometimes hawkish and nationalistic views, would not help the situation.

But David Fouse, a Japan analyst at the Hawaii-based Asia/Pacific Center for Security Studies, downplayed the significance of Abe's move to boost military spending.

"There's been a steady downtrend in Japan's defense spending. I think this is just a very moderate increase...I don't think it's going to be a major increase for what Japan can do with its military," he said.

But Abe on Friday continued his tough stance on China, saying it was "wrong" for Beijing to allow violent protests against Japanese businesses over the territorial dispute.

The protests erupted last year after Tokyo angered Beijing by purchasing some of the disputed islands from their Japanese landowner. The dispute has negatively affected trade between China and Japan, Asia's two largest economies.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.