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TOKYO (Reuters) – The pessimism hanging over Japan’s manufacturers lifted slightly in October, suggesting businesses were emerging from the coronavirus pandemic’s heavy blow to activity and earnings but at a glacial pace.

Some sub-manufacturing sectors, however, believed conditions would stabilise in the next few months, according to the monthly Reuters Tankan, which tracks the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) closely watched tankan quarterly survey.

The result underlines the daunting task Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who rose to power last month, faces in reviving growth and bringing corporate and consumer sentiment back to levels seen before the COVID-19 crisis.

In the poll of 485 large- and mid-sized companies, in which 251 firms responded on condition of anonymity, many complained about the slow pace of recovery from the economic crisis, reporting weakening orders and capital spending.

“The recovery in manufacturing is delayed,” a manager at a chemicals maker wrote in the survey.

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