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.
Internal information regarding JR Kyoto Station was made publicly accessible online when the station floor plans, revealing the locations of inactive gas fire extinguishing equipment, were posted on the Google Groups bulletin board service, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. (The Japan News )
Japan will go ahead with research whaling in the northwestern Pacific for fiscal 2014, but by reducing catches following an International Court of Justice ruling that ordered the country to stop whaling in the Antarctic Ocean, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Friday. (The Japan News )
Hatsune Miku, a computer-generated Japanese pop star who performs as a hologram, is to support some of Lady Gaga's tour of North America next month, the U.S. songstress has announced on Twitter. (Japan Today )
Tochigi prefectural police said Thursday that they are questioning a man in his 30s over the murder of a 7-year-old girl in December 2005. Japanese media quoted police as saying that the man, who was arrested for dealing in fake brand-name goods, has hinted at his involvement in the murder. (Japan Today )