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While most companies are concerned about the current state of Japan’s economy, some bright signs are finally emerging and those who are optimistic about the future of the economy now outnumber those who are pessimistic, according to a survey released Thursday.

The survey, conducted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in early May to assess the impact of the government’s economic stimulus package, found that 86.2 percent of respondents believe the current state of the economy is “bad,” while 4.7 percent think its “good” and 9.2 percent “normal.”

When they were asked about future prospects, however, 33.9 percent said the situation is likely to improve compared to 15 percent who expect a further deterioration. The remaining 51.1 percent said the situation will remain unchanged.

“With the number of those expecting a further deterioration far lower (than those concerned with the current situation), I feel we’ve finally managed to put the brakes on the economic decline of the mind of businesses,” ministry Vice Minister Osamu Watanabe told a regular news conference. “We also see some, albeit limited, positive signs in the movement of private consumption,” he said.

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