Confidence among large Japanese manufacturers improved in the first quarter, a Bank of Japan (BoJ) survey showed Monday.
The figures, which marked a modest uptick in confidence, saw large manufacturers' sentiment improve to minus 8 between January and March from minus 12 three months earlier, the central bank's quarterly Tankan survey showed.
The figures represent the percentage of firms saying business conditions are good minus those saying they are bad and are a key measure used by the BoJ in formulating monetary policy.
The poll comes days after official figures showed Japan's factory output slowed in February, highlighting the weak state of the world's third-largest economy and underscoring the size of the government's task in sparking sustained growth.
The BoJ holds a policy meeting this week as its new governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, talks up his plans to stoke the economy and reverse years of falling prices.
His vow to beat deflation, a mantra led by his boss Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has stoked speculation that the BoJ will launch a new wave of aggressive policy measures that tend to weaken the yen, helping the country's exporters.
Japan's overall economic picture remains unsteady, but the nation squeaked out of recession in the last quarter of 2012, offering up some hope for a sustained recovery.