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Japan Abe's $5trln popularity plan?

Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 01:39

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced a plan to raise gross domestic product by around 22 percent to 600 trillion Japanese yen ($5 trillion). As Sonia Legg reports, he is refocusing on the economy after the passage of controversial security bills eroded his popularity

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Japan's had a pacifist constitution for decades. So a new law allowing troops to fight overseas for the first time since 1945 was never going to be popular. In fact it brought tens of thousands onto the streets last week in protest. It also dented prime minister Shinzo Abe's popularity rating - hence a new economic initiative just a week later. Abe's unveiled a new social and economic plan to raise gross domestic product by nearly a quarter to 600 trillion Japanese yen - that's $5 trillion. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER, SHINZO ABE, SAYING: "In order to bring the economy back on a strong recovery path, we will enact drastic reforms in productivity, widely expand our economy out to the world, and push for policies that will bring in foreign investment and talent." Fine words and intentions but there was no time frame for the improvements. That leaves some with doubts. Justin Urquhart Stewart is from Seven Investment Management (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT LLP, JUSTIN URQUHART-STEWART, SAYING: "Trying to get GDP going is a little like trying to deal with a wet box of matches It's going to take rather a lot of matches to get the fire going - it's going to take a lot of money and is it going to work? Well the last one wasn't that successful so for the time being I think an awful lot of people are going to be suitably inscrutable and suitably cynical." Abe launched a money-printing initiative after he came to power in 2012. Abenomics was praised by many. But analysts say Japan will have to see levels of growth not experienced for 20 years if it's to reach this new target. And time isn't on Abe's side. In 10 months he'll face an election in Japan's upper house.

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Japan Abe's $5trln popularity plan?

Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 01:39