[TOKYO] Confidence among major Japanese manufacturers rose in the three months to June to its highest level since a 2014 tax hike that hit consumption, a Bank of Japan survey showed Wednesday.
The central bank's closely-watched quarterly Tankan report showed the confidence index stood at plus 15 in June, up from plus 12 for the two previous surveys.
The reading beat economists' median forecast that the index would stay flat at plus 12 and marked the highest level since a plus 17 reading in the March 2014 survey, just before the government raised the nation's sales tax.
That levy hike, the first in 17 years, slammed the brakes on consumer spending, helping send the world's third-largest economy into a brief recession.
The Tankan survey of more than 10,000 companies - the most comprehensive indicator of how Japan Inc is faring - marks the difference between the percentage of firms that are upbeat and those that see conditions as unfavourable.