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The nation’s regional economies generally remain sluggish, although there are signs of improvement in some areas and sectors, Finance Ministry bureau heads reported Wednesday.

At a meeting of local bureau chiefs in Tokyo, a top official from the Tokai region, which includes Nagoya, said the local economy has worsened since September, when the last meeting was held.

Stagnant car production is a major factor, the official said. Toyota Motor Corp. has its production base in the region.

Business activity in Hokkaido and Okinawa has picked up slightly, though both prefectures are still in bad condition. Hokkaido’s financial situation has been stabilized by the completion in November of the transfer of operations from the failed Hokkaido Takushoku Bank to another local bank, according to the reports.

Other regions of Japan remain as sluggish as five months ago, officials said. Fixed investment by businesses is expected to decline in most regions for the current fiscal year, which ends in March, especially among small and midsize firms. Employment is also worsening.

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