Japan's economy expanded at the fastest pace in a year in the first quarter, thanks in part to a leap year consumption boost. But, as Laura Frykberg reports, analysts say the rebound is not strong enough to dispel concerns over a contraction this quarter
It's a result many didn't expect. Japan's economy has expanded in the first quarter at its fastest pace in twelve months. Growing by 1.7 percent, thanks to increased consumer spending during the leap year. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPAN'S CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY, YOSHIHIDE SUGA, SAYING: "The GDP surpassed 500 trillion yen for the first time in eight years since 2007, and I believe we can confirm that Japan's economy is continuing on a moderate recovery trend and is escaping from deflation." It's no wonder Japan's government is championing these latest figures. The world's third largest economy contracted last year, plagued by slow wage growth and sluggish demand in emerging markets. But the wider picture is still bleak - expectations were low and Japan only narrowly escaped recession. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CITI, ECONOMIST, CHRISTIAN SCHULZ SAYING: "If you take the last four quarters all together we haven't had any growth in Japan at all. The appreciation of the Yen is also a factor here." Japan's stocks reacted positively initially but ended the day flat. Now Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes he can persuade other world leaders to help him. Japan's hosting a G7 leaders summit next week and wants a co-ordinated approach to boosting global growth. All agree that's a good idea - but can't agree how best to achieve it.