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News Summary: Japan economy grew at 3.5 pct pace

The Associated Press

GROWTH CLIP: Japan's economy grew by a stronger-than-expected 3.5 percent in annual terms last quarter, giving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a boost as his government tackles reforms needed to ensure a sustained recovery from two decades of malaise.

THE REASONS: Stronger consumer spending and public works investment coupled with aggressive monetary easing lent oomph to the recovery that began in the last quarter of 2012, when annual growth was 0.3 percent.

THE BACKGROUND: Abe took office in late December after voters fed up with years of economic misery returned his Liberal Democratic Party to power. His policies have helped push share prices to their highest levels in over five years.