Japan ruling coalition ally seeks fresh stimulus to deal with weak yen

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TOKYO (Oct 20): The junior partner in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's coalition government on Monday called for steps to stimulate an economy hit by April's sales tax rise and to soften the pain of rising costs caused by a weak yen.

Keiichi Ishii, policy chief of the Komeito party, said the government needs to craft an extra budget given the economy's current weakness regardless of Abe's decision on whether to go ahead with a second tax hike in 2015.

"Negative factors are emerging in the economy such as higher electricity bills and rising prices of imported goods," Ishii told Reuters in an interview, referring to the impact of a weak yen, which hit a six year-low against the dollar this month.

"If Abe decides to raise the sales tax, there's no doubt that he would compile an extra budget (to offset an expected blow to the economy), but apart from the decision, an extra budget is necessary given the current economic situation."