The Cabinet Office said Thursday the preliminary data for the gross domestic product, or the measure of a nation's goods and services, showed a rebound in consumer spending that was lifting the economy. After the March 11 disaster last year, many Japanese were in mourning and stayed away from stores, theaters and pubs. That hurt an already hobbled economy badly hit by the disaster in northeastern Japan, which disrupted supply chains and ground manufacturing plants to a halt. But the latest data showed that private consumption grew at an annual rate of 4.4 percent. Consumer spending makes up more than half of Japan's economy. "The numbers show a solid Japanese economic recovery," said Satoshi Osanai, economist at Daiwa Institute of Research in Tokyo.
Japan's economy grew 1.0 percent in the quarter ended March from the October-December 2011 quarter. That was better than the 0.7 percent on-quarter growth that was projected by analysts in Japan, and translates to a 4.1 percent expansion in annual terms.