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Economic and fiscal policy minister Hiroko Ota said Friday she believes Finance Minister Koji Omi only expressed a personal view when he said Tuesday that the government can now declare that deflation in Japan has ended.

“A declaration has come into sight, but we should watch general economic indicators a little longer to make sure that the economy will not fall back into deflation,” Ota told reporters. “I think Mr. Omi talked about his personal view.”

Omi made the remarks after the Bank of Japan “tankan” business sentiment survey released Monday showed improved confidence among major Japanese manufacturers. “It is unnatural for the government to hold an announcement of the end of deflation,” he said.

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