Economy sees Japan’s third-longest postwar expansion

A Cabinet Office panel of experts on Thursday effectively confirmed that Japan’s current economic expansion continued for a 53rd consecutive month in April, making it the third-longest in the postwar period.

The panel, headed by Rissho University Professor Hiroshi Yoshikawa, judged that the economy did not slip into recession after the consumption tax rose to 8 percent from 5 percent in April 2014.

The current expansionary phase started in December 2012, when Shinzo Abe became prime minister for the second time. The fourth-longest period of growth was recorded during the asset-inflated bubble economy, lasting 51 months to February 1992.

The panel monitors the peaks and troughs of past economic cycles.

At its previous meeting in July 2015, the panel determined that the economy hit a trough in November 2012. But the panel did not assess the period after the latest consumption hike.

After the tax increase, the economy underwent a temporary downturn, due mainly to sluggish personal spending.

“We can’t say the contraction in economic activity spread to most sectors on a continuous basis,” Yoshikawa told a news conference, expressing his view that the economy did not reach a cyclical peak at that time.

The panel also discussed recent economic developments in the country. Participants agreed that it is likely that the economic expansion is continuing because no clear signs of a downturn have been observed.

If the current phase continues to August, it will match the 57-month Izanagi boom that ended in July 1970, the second-longest postwar growth. The longest one lasted 73 months from February 2002 to February 2008.

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