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Machine orders rose in April after falling for two consecutive months as companies replaced aging equipment, but economic and fiscal policy chief Hiroko Ota said demand is still weak.

Orders, which signal capital spending in the next three to six months, rose 5.5 percent after falling 8.3 percent in March and 12.3 percent in February, the Cabinet Office said Tuesday. The median estimate in a survey of 26 economists was for a 3 percent increase.

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