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Japan's economic expansion marks 3rd-longest postwar streak: gov't

Japan's economy has continuously expanded over the four years
and four months since 2012, surpassing the period of growth seen
during the asset-inflated bubble economy through around 1990 and
marking the third-longest streak in the postwar era, government data
showed Wednesday.

The government kept unchanged its basic assessment of the March
coincident index reflecting the current state of economy, saying it
suggests the economy is "improving." The upbeat assessment,
maintained since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government was launched
in December 2012, surpasses the 51-month economic expansion from 1986
to 1991.

Despite the unchanged basic assessment in its preliminary report
of composite indices of economic indicators for March, the Cabinet
Office said the index of coincident indicators was down 0.6 point
from the previous month at 114.6, against the 2010 base of 100,
following a 2.0 point rise in February and a 1.4 point decline in
January.

Some indicators, such as industrial production, saw a decline in
the reporting month, weighed by sluggish production and shipment of
semiconductors to China, which until the previous month was a bright
spot. Meanwhile, retail sales saw an improvement.

The index of leading indicators, which predicts developments in
the coming few months, was up 0.8 point at 105.5. (May 10)