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Japan’s industrial production in June rose 1.3 percent from the previous month and shipments increased 0.7 percent — both for the first time in five months — due to the rise in auto production and shipment of steel for export, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry said in a preliminary report Wednesday.

However, MITI officials said the production rise is simply in reaction to sharp declines in previous months. Industrial production is forecast to decline again in August, according to a MITI survey.

Monthly industrial inventories and inventory ratio dropped 0.5 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, in June from the previous month, according to the report.

MITI also announced that industrial production in the April-June period dropped 5.2 percent from the same period last year, the steepest fall since 1975 when the first oil crisis caused a 6.7 percent drop for the first quarter that year.

Industrial shipments plummeted by 5.1 percent during the April-June period, the worst decline since the ministry started compiling the statistics in 1953, according to a preliminary report issued by MITI.

Such a “historical” decline is the result of the prolonged recession that was further aggravated by the consumption tax hike in April 1996, as well as loss of consumer confidence due to ongoing financial crises here and in other parts of Asia, MITI officials said.

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