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 They spent a lot, but the system of implementation is quite outdated," he explained.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

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    China Seeks On-Off Switch for Internet

    Public asks whose security is cybersecurity law aiming to protect

    UN Human Rights Chief: Burundi May Explode Into Ethnic Violence

    Burundian government accuses the UN of a campaign of distortion

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora