Japan poised to pump up sluggish growth with new stimulus


TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s government and central bank appear to be readying a fresh dose of economic stimulus to help revive stalling growth.

Shares in Tokyo jumped Wednesday after the Fuji TV network reported Prime Minister Shinzo Abe planned to introduce a new economic stimulus package amounting to about 27 trillion yen ($254 billion).

Staff in Abe’s office would not confirm reports he planned to make a formal announcement of the proposal sometime later in the day.

Reports said Abe will propose improved wages for childcare and elder care workers, introduction of needs-based scholarships for college students and reduced employment time required to earn pensions.

Other measures include expanding ports to accommodate ultra-large ships and accelerating a decades-long high-speed maglev train project.

Campaigning for a parliamentary election held earlier this month, Abe promised fresh help for the economy, and ordered his economy minister, Nobuteru Ishihara, to draw up the package.

Earlier reports put the size of the package as low as 6 trillion yen (about $57 billion).

Economists say the Bank of Japan also will likely expand monetary stimulus at a policy meeting that begins Thursday.

“The Abe administration continues to highlight the importance of cooperation with the Bank of Japan for a fiscal stimulus package,” Alex Wijaya of CMC Markets said in a commentary.

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