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Japan's parliament passes record trillion-dollar budget

TOKYO, March 24 (AFP) - Japan's parliament Wednesday passed a record trillion-dollar budget for the coming year, adding to the country's bulging public debt burden as Tokyo tries to stimulate a sluggish economy.

The 92.3 trillion yen budget includes new child-care allowances, free public high school tuition and other measures promised by the centre-left government that took power in September, ending a half century of conservative rule.

To finance the budget, the government will issue new bonds worth a record 44.3 trillion yen, adding to Japan's huge public debt burden.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has warned that Japan's public debt, bloated by repeat bouts of stimulus spending, will soar to double the country's gross domestic product by 2011.

Japan, the world's number two economy, last year emerged from its worst post-war recession, growing in the second and third quarters due to government stimulus measures and rebounding exports, mostly to China.

The budget became law on Wednesday as expected after its passage the same day through the upper house, where the governing coalition has a majority, following approval by the more powerful lower house earlier this month.

The conservative opposition has slammed the budget as a massive handout ahead of upper house elections slated for July.

MySinchew 2010.03.24


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