Japan's cabinet approved a $10.7 billion economic stimulus package just weeks before an election the ruling party is expected to lose, while analysts questioned its likely benefits.
The new spending of 880 billion yen ($10.7 billion) was more than double a package announced in October as the country gets set for polls that most say will usher in its seventh prime minister in six years.
Friday's move, which came as official data showed Japan posted a surprise uptick in factory production last month, will also likely trigger vote-buying criticism from opposition lawmakers.
The spending -- which will come out of reserve funds -- will focus on boosting growth in a range of sectors, including healthcare and agriculture, as well as on public works projects following last year's quake-tsunami disaster.
Opinion polls suggest Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Democratic Party of Japan will be defeated by main opposition leader Shinzo Abe who heads the Liberal Democratic Party.
Abe has vowed to spend heavily on public works and pressure the Bank of Japan into launching aggressive monetary easing measures to boost growth if his party win the December 16 vote.
The BoJ has unveiled two policy easing measures since September.
Fewer than 40 pct of residents and commuters in Tokyo take specific measures to prepare for a possible huge earthquake beneath the Japanese capital, despite high awareness on disaster prevention, a Metropolitan Police Department survey showed Friday. (Jiji Press )
The man under arrest for fatally stabbing one man and wounding three others during a 10-minute rampage in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday night, told police on Thursday that he wanted to hijack a plane at Haneda airport and fly it into Tokyo Skytree to take revenge on society. (Japan Today )
The 24-year-old suspect in the murder of a man on a street in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday is believed to have posted a profile online in which he identified himself as a "celeb NEET," meaning a celebrity without a job, according to local online news site J-Cast News. (Japan Times )
The proportion of single nonregular Japanese male workers in their 20s who have girlfriends stood at 18.7 pct in 2012, against 30.7 pct for regular employees, a government survey revealed Thursday. (Jiji Press )
Police in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Wednesday night arrested a 24-year-old unemployed man over four knife attacks within 10 minutes that left one man dead and three others injured on a street. (Japan Today )