Japan's core private-sector machinery orders unexpectedly soared 7.7 percent in June from the previous month, official data showed on Thursday.
It was significantly better than the median forecast of a 1.7-percent rise expected among economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and the Nikkei.
The core data, which exclude volatile demand from power companies and for ships, rose for the second straight month after a 3.0-percent increase in May and a fall of 3.3 percent in April, figures from the Cabinet Office showed.
It was the sharpest rise since a 12.8-percent increase in August 2010.
A leading indicator of corporate capital spending, the latest data reflected that Japanese firms continued to recover from damages done by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
But the strong yen, the uncertain US outlook and the debt crisis in Europe have clouded the prospects for a brisker rebound.
A higher yen hurts Japanese exporters by making their products relatively more expensive overseas and by eroding their earnings.
Looking ahead, the Cabinet Office said it expected core orders to rise only 0.9 percent on quarter in the July-September period.
Businesses have turned cautious due to an ongoing political deadlock, with unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan staying in office despite loud calls from both ruling and opposition blocs to step down.
"The outlook is the key here," Satoshi Osanai, economist at Daiwa Institute of Research, told Dow Jones Newswires.
"A conservative view is spreading because recovery plans remain unclear at home as budgeting process has been delayed due to politics. As for overseas economies, there are growing concerns over a slowdown," Osanai said.
Core machinery orders for the three months to June gained 2.5 percent from the previous quarter and are expected to rise further 0.9 percent in the July-September term, according to the Cabinet Office.