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$140.7B supplementary budget approved

Feb. 26, 2013 at 11:10 PM

TOKYO, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Japan's Parliament passed a 13.1 trillion yen ($140.7 billion) supplementary budget to fund stimulus measures.

The new government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it its top priority to kick-start the economy, hobbled by chronic deflation and recession, through various stimulus measures.

Kyodo News reported the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which lost power in December to Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, and some other opposition parties voted against the supplementary budget Tuesday, saying the package has too many unnecessary public works projects.

The current package for the year ending March is the second largest since the 14.7 trillion yen supplementary budget in fiscal 2009 by the government of Prime Minister Taro Aso following the global financial crisis.

The Abe government says the current stimulus package is expected to boost economic growth by two more percentage points and create at least 600,000 jobs, Kyodo said.

Japan's economy, already in recession, shrank for the third straight quarter at the end of last year when the gross domestic product contracted 0.1 percent in the October-December period. The government blamed it both on weak exports and business investments.

Japan is the world's third-largest economy after the United States and China.

The stimulus measures put in place by the Abe government have helped check the yen's appreciation, which should help boost exports. The country experienced a trade deficit of $78 billion in 2012, up 2.7 percent from 2011 after decades of surpluses.

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