Japan's economy grew a better-than-expected 0.6 percent in the first quarter, official data showed on Wednesday, after limping out of recession in the previous three months.
The latest growth is bigger than a revised 0.3 percent expansion in the final quarter of 2014 and beat the market median forecast of a 0.4 percent on-quarter increase.
In annualised terms, the world's number three economy expanded by 2.4 percent in the quarter to March as the housing market picked up and exports held steady, although consumer spending remains weak.
Tepid inflation has also spurred speculation of further stimulus from the Bank of Japan, after a sales tax rise last year hammered consumer spending.
The sales levy hike -- Japan's first in 17 years -- plunged the economy into recession and threw Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's growth-boosting programme, dubbed Abenomics, into question.
The tax rise from 5.0 percent to 8.0 percent was introduced to help pay down Japan's enormous national debt, one of the biggest among wealthy nations.
Faced with souring economic data, Abe delayed a second hike planned for this year to 2017.
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