Japanese consumers to keep economy floating

The International Monetary Fund predicts an economic expansion in Japan of 2.3% this year, followed by 1.9% in 2008.

Despite the predicted slowdown, the Fund's latest report following its Article IV consultations with senior policymakers remains bullish in assessment of the country's ability to continue it economic expansion. The Japanese GDP grew by 2.2% in 2006 and by 1.9% in 2005, after nearly a decade of deflation.

The consultation report concludes that the "near-term outlook for the Japan

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