Aso’s latest stimulus worth ¥23 trillion

POLITICS Prime Minister Taro Aso unveiled a ¥23 trillion stimulus package Friday that will allow up to ¥12 trillion in public funds to be injected into financial institutions, far more than the ¥2 trillion initially planned. (5) [THE JAPAN TIMES]

Bill to redress uninsured children to be enacted

POLITICS A bill to redress the issue of children without health insurance is likely to be enacted at the current Diet session as the Liberal Democratic Party and the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan agreed Wednesday to hold talks over the bill jointly proposed by three opposition parties, parliamentary sources said. (6) [KYODO]

Gov’t to effectively halt spending cut policy to bolster economy

POLITICS The government is set to effectively halt its spending cut policy in compiling the budget for fiscal 2009 starting in April, in a bid to prioritize stimulus measures over efforts to improve the nation’s fiscal health, government and ruling party sources said Wednesday. (3) [KYODO]

Government panel deems 37% of spending by NPO’s wasteful

POLITICS A government panel tasked with studying ways to eliminate wasteful use of taxpayers’ money has proposed a 37 percent cut, worth about 350 billion yen, in funding for government-authorized nonprofit organizations in fiscal 2009 compared with the corresponding figure in fiscal 2006. (3) [YOMIURI]

BOJ takes steps to thaw credit crunch

POLLS In an extraordinary monetary policy meeting Tuesday, the Bank of Japan said it would help companies get operating funds toward the yearend by accepting lower-rated corporate debt from banks as collateral for loans. [THE JAPAN TIMES]

LDP to consider revising health care system for elderly

POLITICS The ruling Liberal Democratic Party started discussions Tuesday on whether the portion paid out of public funds to cover medical care costs for so-called latter-stage elderly people aged 75 and older could be raised to 55 percent from the current 50 percent as a way of mitigating their burden, party sources said. [KYODO]

Obama’s choice of diplomatic team likely to force Japan to review policy toward U.S.

POLITICS The announcement of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s diplomatic team is likely to force Japan to review its policy toward the United States, say government officials. (7) [MAINICHI]

Prime Minister Taro Aso.

Photo: (c) Kantei

Aso flubs again with remarks on elderly’s health

POLITICS Prime Minister Taro Aso was in hot water again Thursday after he criticized people who neglect their health as well as the elderly infirm for causing medical costs to soar. (1) [ASAHI]

Tourism minister apologizes for gaffes

POLITICS New tourism minister Nariaki Nakayama wasted no time putting his foot in it. The day after stating that Japanese do not like foreigners and that the country is ethnically homogeneous, Nakayama apologized Friday and retracted his statements. (3) [THE JAPAN TIMES]

Photo: (c) Kantei

Fukuda resigns as Prime Minister, Aso expected to succeed

POLITICS Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced on Monday evening his resignation from the post at an emergency press briefing in the Prime Minister’s official residence, the Kantei.

Rice says U.S. won’t forget Japanese abductees

POLITICS The United States will continue to press for the release of Japanese citizens abducted decades ago by North Korea as it seeks the resumption of disarmament talks with Pyongyang, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday. (2) [REUTERS]

Japan, Australia likely to clash at whaling talks

POLITICS Australia will call for a complete halt to whaling this week at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Chile as Japan seeks permission to kill more of the animals, saying they eat too many fish. [BLOOMBERG]

Consumption tax rise within 2 to 3 yrs, says Fukuda

POLITICS Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said Monday he is thinking about raising the consumption tax rate sometime during the next two to three years. [YOMIURI]

Gov’t gives up naming Ikeo as BOJ board member at extra Diet session

POLITICS The government has given up on re-submitting its nomination of Keio University professor Kazuhito Ikeo for membership of the Bank of Japan’s Policy Board during an extraordinary Diet session expected to convene in late August, government sources said Monday. [KYODO]

Japan plays commercial whaling card

POLITICS Japan has indicated to member countries of the International Whaling Commission that it may resume commercial whaling if the IWC fails to alleviate tensions between the pro- and antiwhaling camps before the end of its general meeting a year from now. [THE JAPAN TIMES]

Japan steps up pressure on North Korea over abduction row

POLITICS Japan warned on Sunday it may impose harsher sanctions against North Korea if the communist state failed to meet its promise in a long-running row over its abduction of Japanese nationals. (1) [AFP]

Gov’t to promote solar power for households

POLITICS The Japanese government will come up with measures on Tuesday to promote the household use of solar power systems by introducing subsidies and tax breaks from next year, it was reported on Sunday. [REUTERS]

G-8 finance chiefs warn of inflation risk

POLITICS The Group of Eight finance ministers meeting closed Saturday with the adoption of a joint statement in which the nations agreed to make efforts to secure the stability and growth of the global economy amid increasing inflationary pressure caused by soaring oil and food prices. [YOMIURI]

Fukuda gets report on boosting immigrants

POLITICS Members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party submitted a bold report Friday to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, calling for Japan to increase its foreign residents to up to 10 percent of the nation’s population in the next 50 years. [THE JAPAN TIMES]

Japan stays the path on terror list

POLITICS Japan will keep pressuring the United States not to remove North Korea from its list of terrorist-sponsoring states since there has been no major progress on resolving the abduction issue, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said Thursday. [THE JAPAN TIMES]

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