Japan's regional economies keep recovering despite tax hike: MOF

Japan's regional economies have continued to recover even after the first consumption tax hike in 17 years, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday, keeping intact its overall assessment for around four months from January through April.

All 11 regions -- including Tohoku, ravaged by the March 2011 quake-tsunami disaster, Kanto centering on Tokyo, and Tokai in central Japan, where Toyota Motor Corp. is headquartered -- maintained their economic views, the ministry said.

Domestic demand has shown signs of slowing down after the country's consumption tax rate was raised by 3 percentage points to 8 percent on April 1, but the economy has been on a recovery track, ministry officials said.

Finance Minister Taro Aso said in a written statement delivered at a meeting of the bureau chiefs Wednesday that the government will "swiftly implement" the fiscal 2013 extra budget and the fiscal 2014 budget in an attempt to ease the negative impact of the tax hike.

In January, the ministry upgraded its assessment of Japan's regional economies during the October-December period for the fourth straight quarter.

The Finance Ministry announced its views on the nation's regional economies on a quarterly basis through January. From April, it has started to analyze them, while also taking into account their current conditions.

==Kyodo