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The Finance Ministry on Friday left its cautiously optimistic assessment of the economy for the April-June period unchanged from the previous quarter.

It said the economy was making a gradual recovery while weaknesses in areas such as consumption and employment were showing signs of improvement.

This marks the sixth straight quarter in which the ministry has stated that the economy is improving gradually; its reports are based on surveys conducted by regional bureaus.

The latest report on regional economies cites ministry expectations that the gradual recovery will continue in the coming months, though it stresses that attention should be paid to the impact of high crude oil prices and of inventory adjustments in the information technology sector.

Nine of the 11 regions covered in the report left their economic assessments unchanged, while the remaining two — Hokkaido and Okinawa — revised their assessments upward for the reporting period.

The ministry’s Hokkaido bureau said companies are expected to see earnings spikes in the fiscal first half, while the Okinawa bureau cited upbeat developments in tourism, a main revenue source for the island prefecture.

The economy of the Tokai region, centering on Nagoya, was buoyed in the April-June quarter by a large number of visitors to the ongoing World Exposition in Aichi Prefecture, according to the report.

Production moved at a high level in the Tokai and Chugoku regions, especially in the automobile and steel sectors. Production in other regions, including Kanto and Kinki, was flat amid sluggish demand for IT-related equipment.

The ministry’s bureaus in Kanto and Kinki reported optimism over personal spending in the nation’s two largest economic areas, centering on Tokyo and Osaka.

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