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Japan manufacturer sentiment improves sharply


Sentiment among big Japanese manufacturers jumped in the quarter to June, a Bank of Japan survey showed Monday, with the index hitting its highest level in nearly two years.

The upbeat results come after Japanese factories put in an unexpectedly strong performance in May, supplying fresh evidence that the world's number three economy is picking up as Tokyo embarks on a huge drive to boost growth.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's party faces parliamentary elections this month that are widely expected to see a resounding victory for him, solidifying his power base and giving him the legislative muscle to continue an economy-boosting plan dubbed "Abenomics".

The BoJ's quarterly Tankan survey on Monday showed that large manufacturers' sentiment rose to "plus four" from "minus eight" in the previous quarter, representing the percentage of firms saying business conditions are good minus those saying they are bad.

It is the first time the widely watched poll, which is used by the central bank to formulate policy, has hit positive territory since September 2011.