The Bank of Japan's influential quarterly Tankan survey last week revealed that business confidence among the nation's largest manufacturers had risen to its highest level since the bursting of the asset-inflated bubble of the late 1980s.

And the continuing economic recovery is also percolating through to smaller manufacturers. In the latest June survey, the 'diffusion index' for small and midsize manufacturers improved to +2, rising above zero for the first time in twelve years.

In addition, the most closely watched component of the Tankan study -- the 'diffusion index' for large manufacturers -- rose to 22, its highest level since August 1991 when it stood at 25. The index jumped ten points from the previous survey in March, its fifth successive quarterly rise.

Data sourced from: The Asahi Shimbun (Japan); additional content by WARC staff