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MNI (London)
Repeats Story Initially Transmitted at 05:54 GMT Oct 9/01:54 EST Oct 9
--Japan Sep Econ Watchers Current Index 48.6; Aug 48.7 
--Japan Sep Watchers Current Index Posts 1st Drop in 2 Months 
--Japan Sep Watchers Outlook Index 51.3; Aug 51.4 
--Japan Sep Watchers Outlook Index Posts 1st Drop in 2 Months 
--Japan Govt Keeps View: Moderate Econ Recovery Continuing 
--Japan Govt: Firms Concerned Over Rising Costs, Trade Impact
     TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's current sentiment index edged lower in September,
with economic activity weighed by the large earthquake in Hokkaido and several
typhoons across Japan during the month, a key government survey released Tuesday
showed.
     The survey indicates whether respondents with jobs most sensitive to
economic conditions -- taxi and truck drivers, department-store sales staff and
restaurant and shop owners -- think economic conditions have improved or
worsened from three months before.
     These are the key points from the latest monthly Economy Watchers Survey,
conducted by the Cabinet Office between Sept. 25 and Sept. 30.
     --The Economy Watchers sentiment index for Japan's current economic climate
fell 0.1 points to 48.6 in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, the first
drop in two months after rising 2.1 points to 48.7 in August. The index stayed
below the key level of 50 for the ninth consecutive month.
     --The Watchers outlook index showed sentiment over the situation two to
three months ahead also marked the first drop in two months, down 0.1 points to
51.3, as non-manufacturers were hit by the disasters. The index had risen 2.4
points to 51.4 in August 
     * The Cabinet Office left its overall economic assessment based on the
Economy Watchers Survey unchanged, saying, "The gradual recovery continues."
Last month, the government upgraded its assessment for the first time in five
months. Previously, it said there were signs that "the recovery was taking a
breather."
     "Looking ahead, there are concerns over high costs and the impact of the
trade dispute. But there are expectations for a recovery from the (natural)
disasters," the Cabinet Office said.
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-2175-0040; email: hiroshi.inoue@marketnews.com
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email: les.commons@marketnews.com
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com

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