For the first time in nine years, the Finance Ministry’s 11 regional bureaus all reported a recovery trend in their areas for a second straight quarter.
The ministry released the positive news Wednesday in a report on the January-March quarter.
The report shows the economic recovery is extending to rural and less-developed areas, including Hokkaido, Tohoku and Shikoku, and that manufacturers of electronics parts and devices have joined automakers, shipbuilders and steelmakers as a driving force for the recovery, a ministry official said.
The ministry left unchanged its overall assessment for January-March, saying the economy was posting a “gradual” recovery.
It was the ninth-straight quarter the ministry has issued this assessment for the report on the surveys by its regional bureaus.
The ministry said it expects the economy to log solid growth in the coming months, but the impact of crude oil prices is a cause for watchfulness.
All regions left their assessments unchanged, saying they were recovering or gradually recovering.
The Tokai and Fukuoka regions gave the most bullish assessment, saying their economies “continue to recover.”
Tohoku and Kyushu were less confident, with the former citing regional disparities and the latter pointing to downbeat corporate sentiment and falls in business investment.
According to the report, production expanded in the Tokai and Kyushu regions, and was at a high level in Chugoku.
“These regions are home to automakers and shipbuilders, sectors that register brisk earnings,” the official said. “Steelmakers also boost profits, benefiting areas such as Chugoku, Kyushu and Kinki.”
Almost all regions said personal spending remains firm or is picking up, spurred by brisk sales of flat-screen TV sets and spring clothing.