Battling the global downturn, Japan’s government has approved the country’s biggest ever annual budget.
Prime Minister Taro Aso presented the proposals which still need parliamentary backing. Equivalent to 720 billion euros, the budget covers tax cuts and cash rebates but slashes foreign aid and worsens an already ballooning debt. “The budget is first and foremost to protect the living standards of our citizens,” the premier told a news conference in Tokyo. “The world is facing a once-in-a-hundred years recession. We need extraordinary measures to deal with an extraordinary situation.” The budget, for the year starting in April, is aimed at helping Japan through the eye of the global financial storm. The country’s automakers including Toyota and Nissan have already cut production. The world’s second largest economy has contracted for two straight quarters as demand overseas dries up for its cars, electronics and other exports.