Tokyo eyes $10.7 bln stimulus ahead of polls: reports

The cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is set to approve a $10.7 billion economic stimulus package, reports said Tuesday ahead of elections that the ruling party is widely expected to lose.

Approving the package -- Tokyo's second in about a month -- after calling an election would be an unusual move that would likely trigger vote-buying criticism from opposition lawmakers, Kyodo news agency reported.

The 880 billion yen ($10.7 billion) stimulus was more than double a 422 billion yen package adopted by Noda's government in October, Kyodo and other Japanese media said.

The package, which will be paid for out of reserve funds, was expected to be approved by Noda's cabinet on Friday, the reports said.

The new stimulus would reportedly focus on boosting growth in a range of sectors, including health care and agriculture, as well as on public works projects following last year's quake-tsunami disaster.

Opinion polls suggest Noda and his Democratic Party of Japan will be defeated by main opposition leader Shinzo Abe who heads the Liberal Democratic Party, amid calls to reverse slowing in the world's third-largest economy.

Abe has vowed to pressure the Bank of Japan into launching aggressive monetary easing measures if his party wins the December 16 vote.

The economy contracted in the July-September quarter, nudging it toward recession.

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