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Japan's record economic growth faces shaky outlook

Trade war and Chinese slowdown threaten six-year expansion

Exports from the Port of Osaka have underperformed year-earlier numbers for six straight months.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's economic expansion dating to December 2012 remains intact thanks to wholly unexpected growth in the first quarter, but mounting headwinds have pushed the economy onto unsteady footing.

Real gross domestic product grew 2.1% on an annualized basis during the January-March period, according to preliminary figures released last week. But the Cabinet Office reported that business conditions for March were "worsening" -- the first time in six years such an economic assessment has come down.

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