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The Abe Cabinet on Friday endorsed an emergency economic stimulus package designed to buoy the sagging economy. It is only second in size to the one adopted after the Lehman Brothers shock in the fall of 2008. Government spending will reach ¥10.3 trillion. If spending by local governments and the private sector is added, its size will reach ¥20.2 trillion.

The package, which places an emphasis on public works projects, may help enliven the economy in the short term. But there is a danger that the package will bring back the pork-barrel politics of days gone by, which is associated with pressure from certain industries and “tribal” lawmakers representing their interests.

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