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Japan to raise support for beef, pork farmers

TOKYO - Japan will expand handouts to beef and pork farmers by raising the percentage of losses covered by the government to 90 percent from 80 percent now, according to a draft of the policy outline for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal on ...

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TOKYO - Japan will expand handouts to beef and pork farmers by raising the percentage of losses covered by the government to 90 percent from 80 percent now, according to a draft of the policy outline for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal on Tuesday.

The government will also boost purchases of domestic rice for reserve stocks to prevent prices from falling due to new tariff-free import quotas from the United States and Australia under the TPP agreement, the draft seen by Reuters said.

The steps are expected to ease farmers' worries over the TPP deal and an increase in imports of cheaper foreign farm products. The TPP pact still requires ratification by member countries.

The draft also said Japan aims to raise the value of farm and fishery product exports to 1 trillion yen ($8 billion) before an initial target year of 2020, versus about 612 billion yen in 2014.

With a recent increase in the number of foreign tourists, the nation also aims to attract 20 million foreign visitors a year prior to 2020 and wants to see their annual spending hit 4 trillion yen, according to the draft.

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CHILD BENEFITS

In a separate package of steps - also due out this week - aimed at tackling Japan's shrinking population, the government will provide support for single-parent households and families with more than one child, government sources told Reuters.

The government is expected to include these measures in a supplementary budget for this fiscal year and in an initial budget for the next fiscal year starting from April.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying to demonstrate renewed commitment to fixing the economy with three new policy "arrows" that aides say subsume an original trio of hyper-easy monetary policy, public spending and reform.

Those targets include boosting the fertility rate to 1.8 from the current 1.42 so Japan can keep its population from falling below 100 million, supporting those who need to care for elderly relatives, and growing the economy by one-fifth to 600 trillion yen.

The package of steps includes measures to reduce household burdens on preschool education so as to provide "seamless support" from pregnancy, birth to child rearing, the sources said.

To eliminate the need to quit work to care for elderly relatives and enhance productivity of nursing-care business, the government will help promote special nursing-care homeS for the aged, they said.

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