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Japan economy grew last quarter on better spending, exports

TOKYO (AP) – Japan’s economy grew at an annual pace of 5.4 per cent in October-December, boosted by improved consumer spending and exports, the government said yesterday.

On a quarterly basis, Japan’s real gross domestic product, or GDP, which measures the value of a nation’s products and services, grew 1.3 per cent in the last three months of the year, according to Cabinet Office data.

Growth got a boost after measures to curb the spread of coronavirus infections were lifted last year. The restrictions asked restaurants and bars to close early and large-scale events to be cancelled or held with limited crowds.

The latter part of last year had seen people starting to travel again, and venture out for dining and shopping. But the future remains uncertain after Tokyo and other areas of Japan resumed pandemic precautions as cases have rebounded with the Omicron variant.

For 2021, the world’s third-largest economy grew 1.7 per cent, marking its first calendar year expansion in three years. The economy had contracted at a 2.7 per cent annual rate in July-September and expanded 2.4 per cent in April-June.

Cars for export loaded onto a cargo ship in Yokohama. PHOTO: AP
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