Japan's factory output rose four percent in January from the previous month for the second consecutive monthly increase, thanks to higher domestic demand ahead of a sales tax hike in April, official data showed Friday.
The expansion followed a revised 0.9 percent expansion in December, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry said.
However, the ministry maintained its overall assessment of industrial production of the world's third-biggest economy, saying "It has shown upward movement." Looking ahead, manufacturers polled by the ministry expect production will increase 1.3 percent in February and fall 3.2 percent in March. The government plans to raise sales tax from the current 5 percent to 8 percent to restore the country's fiscal health.
The government also said Japan's job-to-applicant ratio was 1.04 in December, which means that 104 positions were available for every 100 job seekers. The index marked the 14 straight month of improvement and the highest since August 2007.