Although many economic index figures still are troublesome, signs of economic recovery are appearing, Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi reckoned Friday.

Japan’s gross domestic product shrank at an annualized rate of 2.6 percent in real terms during the July-September quarter compared with the previous three months, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of contraction, according to figures announced Thursday by the Economic Planning Agency. “Although the figures are bad, some public works projects have started to be implemented. I think signs of (recovery) have started to glimmer,” Obuchi told reporters.

Later in the day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka told a regular news conference that some people began to see better prospects for the economy, with some even saying the economy has bottomed out. The improvement largely is due to the implementation of the supplementary budget that the government has compiled three times this year, he said. “Since the establishment of Prime Minister Obuchi’s Cabinet, we have been putting our efforts into resuscitating the nation’s economy,” Nonaka said. “While we feel that we may have finally started to see (improvement), we should repeatedly recognize the seriousness of the (bad) economic figures. We must make continuous efforts to create an environment in which people can feel there are brighter prospects for the future,” he added.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa on Friday expressed pessimism about the nation achieving even the government revised estimate of minus 1.8 percent growth for the fiscal year, which ends in March.

His remarks, made at the day’s regular news conference, came in response to an announcement Thursday by the Economic Planning Agency that the real gross domestic product shrank 0.7 percent during the July-September quarter.

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