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Economic activity stalled in the three months through December amid weak production and exports, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday, downgrading its basic assessment for the first time in seven quarters.

The economy has been “pausing,” the ministry said in a report compiling the evaluations of its 11 regional bureaus.

The diminishing effects of the government’s fiscal stimulus measures slowed private consumption and industrial output, especially in the auto sector, while the strength of the yen weighed on exports in the October to December period, it said.

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