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Government retains assessment of economy ‘picking up’ in August report

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The country’s economy showed signs of “picking up,” the government said Thursday, maintaining its assessment for a second consecutive month.

“The Japanese economy is still in a severe situation due to the novel coronavirus, but it is showing movements of picking up recently,” the Cabinet Office said in its monthly report for August.

After assessing that the country’s economy was “getting worse rapidly in an extremely severe situation” in April, with the government declaring a state of emergency over the pandemic, its evaluation was upgraded in June and July as the country slowly reopened following the lifting of the emergency in May.

Of the 11 major components of the assessment, the government in Thursday’s report upgraded its evaluations of exports and industrial production, which were both revised up for the second straight month.

A government official told reporters the overall assessment was unchanged despite the upgrades as an export recovery remained uncertain and there was some weakness in employment conditions.

“Working hours continue to be cut … and the number of people employed is diminished. Given that such weakness remains, we have maintained the assessment,” the official said.

The monthly report predicted that movements toward recovery would continue to be seen in the short term with the improvement of overseas economies, while Japan’s socioeconomic activities would resume.

In August, the assessment of private consumption was maintained as “picking up recently,” although the report showed spending had not increased during the summer vacation period as it did in the past three years.

The official said many people refrained from traveling during the summer vacation period amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections, adding they may spend the money they did not use during the holiday in September instead.

The central government launched its Go To Travel campaign July 22 to promote domestic tourism by partly covering the cost of trips. While it excluded travel to and from Tokyo in response to a spike in infections in the capital, the government is expected to consider whether to include such trips in the campaign next month.

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Source: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/08/27/business/economy-business/government-retains-assessment-economy-picking-up-august-report/

Author: Kyodo News Staff

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