Japan proposes record stimulus package to fix ailing economy

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Japan is making a major stimulus move to jumpstart that country's economy which has been weakened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan's prime minister outlined Friday a record 56 trillion yen, or $490 billion stimulus package, including cash handouts and aid to ailing businesses.

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"The package has more than enough content and scale to deliver a sense of security and hope to the people," Fumio Kishida told reporters.

The proposal was set for Cabinet approval later in the day, but still needs parliamentary approval. 

The plan includes giving out $880 each in monetary assistance to those 18 years or younger, and aid for ailing businesses, Kishida and other politicians said.

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Japan has never had a full lockdown during the pandemic and infections remained relatively low, with deaths related to COVID-19 at about 18,000 people. 

However, the world’s third-largest economy was already stagnating before the pandemic hit.

The scale of the latest package will require Japan to sink deeper into debt by issuing bonds.

Japan’s economy contracted at an annual rate of 3% in the July-September period, largely because of weak consumer spending. Analysts say the economy is unlikely to rebound until next year.

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Kishida, who has promised "a new capitalism" for Japan, took office in October. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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