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Japan business sentiment hits 3.5-year low

Japanese executives are taking a dim view of business conditions. A government survey shows sentiment among major firms for the current quarter has hit a three-and-a-half-year low.

Officials say the index for big companies across all industries came to minus 6.2. That’s the lowest it has been since the second quarter of 2016, when powerful earthquakes hit southwestern Japan.

A negative figure indicates more companies feel business has worsened.

Officials say the consumption tax hike on October first and the effects of a strong typhoon dampened sales at department stores and home-appliance outlets.

Chinese demand for autos was also sluggish due to the country’s economic slowdown.