Japan Approves $10.7 Billion Stimulus

Japan’s cabinet approved a $10.7 billion economic stimulus package just weeks before an election the ruling party is expected to lose, while analysts questioned its likely benefits.

The new spending of 880 billion yen ($10.7 billion) was more than double a package announced in October as the country gets set for polls that most say will usher in its seventh prime minister in six years.

Friday’s move, which came as official data showed Japan posted a surprise uptick in factory production last month, will also likely trigger vote-buying criticism from opposition lawmakers.

The spending — which will come out of reserve funds — will focus on boosting growth in a range of sectors, including healthcare and agriculture, as well as on public works projects following last year’s quake-tsunami disaster.

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