Japans Manufacturers End Year Less Confident

Will Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's proposed income-tax cut revive Japans economy? The countrys manufacturers must hope so. Japanese manufacturers have effectively lost confidence in their countrys economy, according to a report released earlier this month. A quarterly "confidence" index from Japans central bank, the Tankan, recorded a minus 11 in early December, compared with a plus 3 in September. The survey from which the index was calculated was taken just after the collapse of several Japanese banks and the failure of Yamaichi Securities, Japans fourth largest securities firm.

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