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For Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, the coming summit in Cologne, Germany, of the industrialized world’s leaders comes at an optimal time.

Japan’s just-released January-March gross domestic product data — showing the economy rose at a surprising annualized rate of 7.9 percent — will serve as a major tool for him to convince the summit leaders that the country is finally starting to pull out of its economic doldrums and is ready to contribute to global growth.

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