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Japan's third extra budget for stimulus may exceed 15 trillion yen: lawmaker

FILE PHOTO: Hakubun Shimomura, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's policy research council chief, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the party's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan October 9, 2020. Picture taken October 9, 2020. REUTERS/Izumi Nakagawa

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s third extra budget for economic stimulus steps may need to be bigger than 15 trillion yen ($142.5 billion), a senior lawmaker in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga instructed his cabinet on Tuesday to compile a package of stimulus measures to revitalise an economy hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The package aims to cushion the blow from COVID-19, foster structural changes in the economy and boost productivity through digitisation.

Hakubun Shimomura, the LDP’s policy research council chief, said the party wanted the extra budget to be compiled on Nov. 27, adding it may need to be “more than 10 trillion to 15 trillion yen”.

Cabinet ministers have said the size of the new package had not been decided yet, but ruling party lawmakers have called for 10 trillion to 30 trillion yen in new measures.

Shimomura also told reporters the size of the package would need to be substantial as it would include steps such as an extension or tweaks to subsidies for firms to keep people in employment, as well as a national campaign to boost travel and tourism.

He also said the new package would also need to contain measures to help achieve Japan’s pledge to cut greenhouse gases to zero.

($1 = 105.2700 yen)

Reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto, writing by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Kenneth Maxwell

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