Updated: 03/10/2014 09:56 | By Agence France-Presse

Japan's October-December GDP revised down to 0.2% increase

Japan's economy expanded 0.2 percent in the quarter to December and 1.5 percent through 2013, revised data showed Monday, as growth came in slightly weaker than previously thought.

Japan's October-December GDP revised down to 0.2% increase

A woman walks past a share price board in Tokyo on March 3, 2014 - by Yoshikazu Tsuno

Preliminary figures last month showed that gross domestic product grew 0.3 percent for the October-December period and 1.6 percent in 2013.

Despite the slight downward revision, the 2013 economic growth figures still marked Japan's best annual performance in three years, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's growth blitz rippled through the world's number-three economy.

But the fresh data will put the focus on Bank of Japan policymakers as they start a two-day meeting later in the day amid speculation that the central bank will unleash further easing measures as the economy braces for a sales tax rise next month.

The increase, seen as crucial to bringing down Japan's staggering national debt, threatens to weigh on consumer demand, and slow the recovery.

A key reason for the downward revision was weak exports, as the current account ballooned on the back of surging energy bills sparked by the shutdown of Japan's nuclear reactors following the Fukushima crisis.

In separate data released Monday, the deficit in the January current account -- Japan's broadest measure of trade with the rest of the world -- more than quadrupled to another record figure of 1.589 trillion yen ($15.4 billion).

Japan's economy grew 1.4 percent in 2012 and contracted 0.5 percent in 2011 as the country was hammered by a quake-tsunami disaster and subsequent nuclear crisis.

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