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[TOKYO] Japan's service sector sentiment index fell to 49.3 in August, down for the first time in two months and the lowest level since January, a Cabinet Office survey showed on Tuesday.
The survey of workers such as taxi drivers, hotel workers and restaurant staff - called "economy watchers" for their proximity to consumer and retail trends - showed their confidence about current economic conditions declined from 51.6 in July.
The outlook index, indicating the level of confidence in future conditions, slipped to 48.2 in August from 51.9 the previous month.
The Cabinet Office started compiling the data in comparative form in August 2001.