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Japanese government unveils record $154 billion stimulus plan

Latest update : 2009-04-10

Tokyo unveiled a record $154 billion dollar stimulus plan to help revive the giant Asian economy. Japanese PM Taro Aso vowed to create two million jobs in the next three years and boost the country's GDP.

AFP - Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso on Thursday pledged to create up to two million new jobs in the next three years with a new growth strategy for Asia's biggest economy.
  
By 2020 the plan -- which would boost renewable energy, elderly care and cultural exports -- would increase gross domestic product (GDP) by 120 trillion yen (1.2 trillion dollars) and create four million new jobs, he said.
  
The conservative government of Aso, who faces elections this year, is preparing Friday to announce details of a 150-billion-dollar stimulus package to help revive the economy from its worst post-war recession.
  
Outlining his longer-term growth strategy, Aso pledged that over the next three years his government could "create new demand of 40 to 60 trillion yen (400-600 billion dollars) and 1.4 to 2 million jobs in total."
  
"Through brave actions by the public and private sectors I believe it is possible to boost real GDP by 120 trillion yen and create job opportunities for four million people in 2020."
  
A centrepiece of the plan is a "low-carbon revolution" that would help revive the world's number two economy through boosting solar energy, electric cars and energy-efficient appliances, he said.
  
Aso said Japan should regain its number one position in solar energy by increasing solar panel production 20-fold by 2020, and by fitting schools with photovoltaic cell panels.
  
He also proposed that solar energy systems could halve in price in three to five years under the plan.
  
"Solar cells, electric vehicles and energy-saving home appliances will be the new 'Three Sacred Treasures' in the low-carbon society of the 21st century," Aso said.
  
"The crisis this time has the potential to drastically change the landscape of the world economy and of industrial competition," he said.
  
Aso also vowed to create 300,000 new nursing care jobs for Japan's greying population in three years -- and 500,000 new jobs by 2020 by spreading Japanese 'soft power' in fields such as anime and fashion.
  
In tourism, Japan could more than double the number of foreign visitors to 20 million a year by 2020, he said, in part by streamlining airport immigration procedures and speeding up a Tokyo airport train link.

Date created : 2009-04-09

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