Japanese industry starts to fight back

JAPAN’S industry fought back in April after the devastating earthquake and tsunami the previous month, several data releases have shown.

Industrial output and manufacturing activity have recovered from record losses in March, yet Japan still faces an upward climb, with unemployment rising to 4.7 per cent last month – high by Japanese standards.

Car production collapsed by 60 per cent last month, data from the Japanese car manufacturers’ association revealed yesterday.

Nonetheless, industrial output sprung back by rising one per cent in April, after March’s record fall, official data showed -- a sign that companies are mending broken supply chains.

Meanwhile, a purchasing managers’ index for the factory sector returned to growth for April, measuring 51.3, from 45.7 in April.

Household spending was three per cent down compared to April last year, but the pace of decline slowed markedly from March’s record 8.5 per cent record annualised fall.