The government will draw up an emergency economic stimulus package worth more than 10 trillion yen by Nov. 16 as the major pillar of the third supplementary budget for fiscal 1998, the Cabinet agreed Tuesday.The third extra budget for the current business year will be submitted to an extraordinary Diet session to be convened in late November, government officials said.At a regular news conference later in the day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka confirmed the planned pump-priming package will likely exceed 10 trillion yen. “The economic package will be compiled based on the initial amount of 10 trillion yen. But as we gather opinions from the people involved, the amount will likely be more than planned,” he said.The government hopes to work out the details of package before the informal summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, scheduled for Nov. 17 and 18 in Kuala Lumpur, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka told reporters.The draft emergency stimulus package would enable Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi at the APEC summit to provide evidence of Tokyo’s efforts to rebuild the ailing Japanese economy.The decision was made at Tuesday’s meeting of Cabinet ministers, during which Obuchi formally instructed the Cabinet to draft an economic stimulus package by mid-November. “Considering our nation’s severe economic situation … I would like to ask you to draw up an emergency stimulus package that will work quickly and effectively,” Obuchi was quoted as saying at the Cabinet meeting. “I would like to draw up a third extra budget plan based on the stimulus measures,” he said.After the Cabinet meeting, Economic Planning Agency head Taichi Sakaiya vowed to “implement all stimulus measures possible” to create an environment for positive economic growth in fiscal 1999. Nonaka said the government needs to compile a budget based on long-term perspectives, which will in turn make possible the implementation of “continuous and effective” economic measures.Considering issues such as medical care and pension funds, the government should not hammer out policies on an annual basis only, the government’s top spokesman said.However, he declined to comment on whether additional tax cuts worth nearly 7 trillion yen already announced by the prime minister will be included in the stimulus package.
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