• Kyodo

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U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow on Friday welcomed Japan’s economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2003 as a “positive surprise.”

At the same time, however, Snow urged Japan to achieve domestic demand-led economic growth without depending on exports.

“Japanese performance provided a positive surprise in the fourth quarter, with growth hitting an annual rate of 7 percent,” Snow said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

Japan’s real gross domestic product expanded 1.7 percent in the October-December period from the previous quarter, showing the sharpest growth in 13 1/2 years. This translates into annualized growth of 7 percent.

But Snow said Japan’s economic recovery has been heavily dependent on export demand.

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