Japan plans record $490 bn stimulus to boost pandemic recovery

Fumio Kishida's stimulus is the third to be injected into the Japanese economy since the pandemic began last year. ©AFP

Tokyo (AFP) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced a record 56 trillion yen ($490 billion) stimulus for the world's third-largest economy Friday as he looks to shore up its patchy pandemic recovery.

The fresh stimulus, expected to be approved by the cabinet later in the day, "is enough to deliver a sense of safety and hope to the Japanese people", Kishida said in televised comments.

It will be the third round of huge relief spending unleashed by the government since the pandemic began -- with former prime ministers Yoshihide Suga and Shinzo Abe pouring 40 trillion yen and 38 trillion yen respectively into the economy in 2020.

"We have been able to build economic measures that will open the new society after the pandemic," Kishida said at policy talks between the cabinet and ruling coalition.

He said the fiscal spending of around 56 trillion yen was expected to rise as high as 79 trillion yen including other elements such as loans from funds.

The spending will include one-off cash handouts to those aged 18 or under, and will also raise the wages of nurses and care workers, the Nikkei business daily and other major outlets reported.

Kishida triumphed in a general election last month, having pledged to unleash huge spending after his predecessor Suga stepped down, partly over his government's virus response.

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