Stirring Japan Out Of Its Slump

When Japan's long-awaited economic stimulus package was finally unveiled on Apr. 13, it drew both cheers and jeers. Japan's most popular newscaster, Hiroshi Kume, quipped that it offers a great chance for politicians to collect bribes from contractors. Top American officials visiting Japan for a Group of Seven ministers conference thought it underwhelming. But the Tokyo stock market heartily approved the $117 billion program. The Nikkei index soared by 4.3%, sparking rallies on stock exchanges around the world. "The market believes this package will ensure that the economy hits bottom soon, if it hasn't already," says Jason James, strategist at James Capel Pacific Ltd. in Tokyo.

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