TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's industrial output in April rose 0.6 percent from the previous month as firms increased production in the lead-up to the country's annual Golden Week holiday, government data showed Friday.
The seasonally adjusted index of production at factories and mines stood at 102.8 against the 2015 base of 100, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a preliminary report.
The result, which followed a revised 0.6 percent decline in March, led the ministry to upgrade its assessment of production, saying it now "fluctuates indecisively," improving from its earlier label of production being "in a weak tone recently."
Production of automobiles and their parts increased, while that of manufacturing equipment was also up.
A ministry official said the Golden Week holiday, extended to 10 days between April 27 and May 6 this year to commemorate the ascension to the throne of new Emperor Naruhito, also played a part in firms ramping up production.
"Because there were fewer weekdays for factories to operate in May, firms made up for it by ramping up production in April," the official told a press briefing.
The firm reading gave some respite from concerns that the Japanese economy may be heading into a recession amid a global slowdown caused in part by the trade war between the United States and China.
Based on a poll of manufacturers, the ministry expects output to gain 5.6 percent in May and then fall 4.2 percent in June.
But analysts warned against being overly optimistic.
Koya Miyamae, a senior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., pointed out that the data had been collected in early May, just as the United States raised tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods.
"It's possible that only some of the impact has been factored in at this point, though there doesn't seem to have been a large effect yet," he said.
The index of industrial shipments in April climbed 1.7 percent to 102.6 while that of inventories was unchanged at 103.8.