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 They spent a lot, but the system of implementation is quite outdated," he explained.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

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs