Japan's industrial production falls 2.5% on-month in April
A pedestrian walks past the Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo on May 21, 2014 - by Kazuhiro Nogi
"Industrial production appears to be flat," the ministry of economy, trade and industry said in a statement, downgrading its view from March when it said production continued to "show an upward movement".
Retail sales had got a strong boost ahead of an April 1 sales tax rise -- Japan's first in 17 years -- as shoppers made a last-minute dash to buy staples and big-ticket items such as cars and refrigerators.
But spending turned down after the levy hike, weighing on activity and exacerbating worries that the higher taxes would weigh on consumer spending and a wider economic recovery.
Industrial output grew at its fastest rate in more than two years in January before losing steam.
A survey of manufacturers released with the data Friday showed they expect factory production to expand by 1.7 percent on-month in May before contracting by 2.0 percent in June.
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