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Although Japan has stopped sinking into its deepest recession since World War II, the economy still is shaky and must be handled with care, Yoshimasa Hayashi, the new economic and fiscal policy minister, said Thursday.

“Although (the economy) has bottomed out, it is still very low,” Hayashi told his first news conference.

“Since we cannot unconditionally rejoice at the situation, I will really carefully manage” the economy, he said, adding the severe job situation will be a key focus.

Hayashi, who is taking the post off the hands of multitasking Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano, who is also the financial services minister, may not serve that long if the Democratic Party of Japan and its allies win in the next Lower House election.

To help raise support for Prime Minister Taro Aso’s Cabinet, Hayashi stressed that he would promote the administration’s stimulus package, including the cash handouts, and urge more people to make use of the money.

“Getting people to understand and evaluate would eventually lead to support” for Aso’s administration, Hayashi said. “By being a salesman of policies, I will ask more people to utilize them.”

The government maintains that it will raise the consumption tax in fiscal 2011 if it can confirm the economy is improving. Commenting on fiscal reconstruction, Hayashi stressed the importance of balancing growth, reducing wasteful spending and carrying out tax reform.

“Fiscal reconstruction can be realized only if these three elements are achieved,” he said.

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