The Finance Ministry on Tuesday upgraded its overall assessment of the nation's regional economies for the first time in nearly three years, saying they are showing signs of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic including a pickup in consumption.

The upward revision to the quarterly assessment covering the nation's 11 regions, the first since October 2017, came despite uncertainty over the outlook amid the recent resurgence of the virus that has prompted Tokyo and some other prefectures to reimpose restrictions on some businesses.

The regional economies "recently stopped worsening although remain in a severe situation. Some signs of picking up can be seen in part of them," the report said.

The ministry also upgraded individual assessments for all 11 regions.

In the previous report released in April, the ministry said the local economies were in an "extremely severe situation," and the overall assessment was downgraded for the first time in more than seven years.

The government fully lifted a state of emergency over the virus in late May.

By component, consumer spending is picking up at a moderate pace across the country, the latest report said.

Under the state of emergency, the government requested people to refrain from nonessential outings and asked some businesses to suspend operations.

Production is bottoming out as a whole, the report said. It noted a recovery trend in the auto industry, while employment conditions have shown some weakness on the pandemic.


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