Japan's government on Thursday approved a new 18.6-trillion-yen ($182-billion) stimulus package, part of its strategy to lift the country out of a long-running deflation trap.
The package, which is also aimed at counterbalancing the effect of an upcoming sales tax increase, due to rise next year, includes previously budgeted items.
An estimated 5.5 trillion yen of the total will be allocated for reconstructing areas of northeastern Japan devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and building new infrastructure ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration has opted for public works and other measures intended to have an immediate economic impact and estimates that the new package will create at least 250,000 jobs and boost the nation's gross domestic product by 1 percent in real terms.
A supplemental budget for the current fiscal year, which expires in March 2014, is expected to be approved next week to fund the stimulus measures, the Kyodo news agency reported.
This package is part of a pro-growth strategy that Abe has spearheaded since taking office last December and which consists of aggressive stimulus measures and monetary easing by Japan's central bank.
In October, Abe's administration also approved an increase in the sales tax from 5 percent to 8 percent starting in April 2014 - the first such rise in more than 15 years - as part of a bid to tackle a massive debt load.
The prime minister said then the goal of the tax hike was to "maintain confidence in Japan's fiscal policy and establish a social security system that is sustainable for future generations." EFE