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Japan PM rejigs Cabinet, eyes economy

JAPAN: Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan kept political allies in key posts in a Cabinet reshuffle Friday, signalling he plans to try to press ahead with efforts to curb the country's huge debt.

In a sign that worries about Japan's fragile economic recovery could complicate those efforts, Kan was to instruct his new cabinet to compile an extra budget for the current fiscal year to March 31, Kyodo news agency reported.

But funds for the fresh steps would be found without issuing more government bonds, Kyodo said.

Kan retained Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who earlier this week oversaw Japan's first intervention in the currency markets in six years to stem a rise in the yen and protect the export-reliant economy.

Noda reiterated Friday that Tokyo was ready to intervene again if needed.

Kan, who took office in June as Japan's fifth prime minister in three years, defeated rival Ichiro Ozawa in a party leadership vote on Tuesday.

Ozawa, a scandal-tainted strategist known for shaking things up, favours spending to stimulate the economy if needed, even if that means increasing public debt. TOKYO, Friday, Reuters

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