Weak Japan economic data bolsters new PM's hand on stimulus
Japanese voters and the financial markets have welcomed the Abe government's aggressive stance on pumping cash into the economy, pushing the benchmark Nikkei share average on Friday to its highest level since the March 2011 tsunami, despite the worse than expected drop in factory output. Opinion polls published by major newspapers on Friday showed half to two-thirds of the public supported Abe's conservative government, with the stagnant economy the top priority.
Top officials of the new government, sworn in just two days ago after a landslide election victory, say Abe's administration is under pressure to achieve quick results.
"(Public support) will drop if speculation mounts that we are unable to deliver," Akira Amari, the minister in charge of reviving the economy, told a news conference after a Friday morning cabinet meeting.
But many economists warn Abe's emphasis on stimulus, rather than underlying structural reforms to boost competitiveness, may have only short-term effects and could worsen bloated public debt, the worst among the industrial nations.
PRESSURE TO PERFORM
The government is keeping up pressure on the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to step up its monetary stimulus, even after it loosened policy in December for the third time in four months. Finance Minister Taro Aso said he was paid a courtesy visit by BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa on Friday
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