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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 January 2006, 06:35 GMT
Japan manufacturers remain upbeat
Robot on a bicycle
Despite some wobbles, Japan's recovery is picking up momentum
Japanese manufacturers are more upbeat about their outlook than at any time since 1998, a report has found.

The monthly Reuters Tankan survey of leading companies had a reading of 33 in January, up from 32 in December.

One caveat is that the survey was conducted before fraud allegations surfaced at internet company Livedoor.

Its problems have shocked Japan's business community and may have shaken confidence in the country's continuing economic recovery, analysts say.

While this report is not as closely watched as the Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan survey, it does give a valuable insight into corporate opinion.

Japan's economy has been recovering steadily, if unspectacularly, and may be about to put behind it a period of deflation, falling wages and sputtering corporate earnings.

According to the Reuters poll, companies are even more optimistic the further ahead they look, with the index reading expected to reach 38 in April.

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