Japan's factory output back to pre-pandemic level

Japan's industrial production rose in April for a second straight month, recovering to the level seen before the coronavirus pandemic.

Industry ministry officials say factory output in April increased 2.5 percent from March. They kept their assessment that industrial production is "picking up."

The preliminary reading for April stood at 99.6 on an index that uses average output for 2015 as a base figure of 100. That was higher than the level recorded in January last year.

Increases in production of steam turbines, batteries for electric vehicles, and equipment to manufacture semiconductor-related products drove the improvement.

A ministry survey forecasts output will drop 1.7 percent for May, before returning to growth with a 5-percent increase in June.