The future looks a little brighter for the long-suffering Japanese economy which, says a government report, has hit bottom.

Upgrading its assessment of conditions for the third time in three months, the Cabinet Office revealed that the nation’s economy has finally stopped declining.

Underpinning the turnaround is a rise in exports, especially to Asia, which is propping up industrial output and the labour market. Although personal consumption, the largest sector of the economy, remains flat, the report pointed to signs that consumer spend is on the road to recovery.

“If we don’t have some kind of external shock, like an international crisis or sudden movement in the yen, one could say we’ve hit bottom,” declared government official Jun Saito. “From here on in we can expect a level or upward trend.”

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff