Japan received further positive economic news when it emerged that its exports grew during April.
Government figures showed that exports were 1.9 per cent higher during April than in March, while Bank of Japan statistics suggested the climb was 7.8 per cent.
Although the levels are still substantially below those of 12 months ago, the news was broadly welcomed by economists, who suggested the worst may be over for the country's exporters.
Satoru Ogasawara, a Tokyo-based analyst for Credit Suisse, told Reuters: "The improvement in exports reflects companies restocking inventories on expectations of an economic recovery."
The figures showed that the rate of year-on-year decline in shipments to the US, Asia and Europe are all falling, suggesting that economic stimulus packages around the world are helping to stimulate demand for Japanese goods.
That trend was particularly prevalent in China, which is one of Japan's most important trade partners.
News of the improved export figures comes just days after the Bank of Japan suggested that the country's recession is close to its end. Written by Susan Ballion
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