Japan cuts economic assessment for 1st time in 11 months

The Japanese government has downgraded its assessment of the country's economy for the first time in 11 months. Officials say falling exports are largely to blame.

The Cabinet Office's monthly report for January says that the economy is picking up moderately, but some weaknesses have emerged.

Exports to Asia have been soft as coronavirus infections in China hinder its production. Officials also note that global demand for semiconductors is falling.

The report kept its upbeat assessment of personal spending as "picking up moderately," saying the pandemic's impact on travel and other services is easing. The number of trips during the year-end holiday recovered to near pre-pandemic levels.

The report warned, however, of downside risks going forward, including rising prices, financial market fluctuations and China's economic slowdown.