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Japan Unveils Multi-Billion-Dollar Economic Package

Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso has unveiled a nearly $300 billion economic stimulus package to bolster the world's second largest economy and help it survive the global financial crisis.

Mr. Aso announced the plan Thursday. It includes tax cuts, benefits to households, a reduction in highway tolls, and loans to help small businesses.

The stimulus package is the first drafted under Mr. Aso, who took over a month ago, replacing former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. Mr. Fukuda stepped down over political deadlock in parliament and perceived mishandling of the economy.

The media and politicians have widely expected Mr. Aso to hold snap elections after taking office. But, he says he wants to first focus on the economy.

Elections in Japan must take place by September 2009.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.