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New economic package should start with review of past ones

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The government should carefully weigh the economic challenges facing Japanese society and the justifications for tax-financed policy efforts to tackle them when it cobbles together the proposed new package of economic measures.

It should also have serious debate on the cost-effectiveness of various policy options.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration plans to craft a package of measures to achieve three main policy goals--dealing with the damage caused by recent natural disasters including devastating typhoons; supporting small and midsize businesses and primary industries; and promoting investment for the future and preparing for potential problems in the period after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The administration envisions a “flexible and all-inclusive” package containing outlays from both a supplementary budget for the current fiscal year, which runs through March, and the initial budget for the next fiscal year.

The government is sticking to the stance that the Japanese economy is “recovering at a moderate pace,” while the stock market remains on a firm footing.

But there are a slew of downside risks for the nation’s economic outlook, most notably........

© The Asahi Shimbun