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 They spent a lot, but the system of implementation is quite outdated," he explained.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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid