Japan's PM says economy seeing 'bright signs'

Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi said on Monday that the country was finally emerging from its prolonged slowdown thanks to rising corporate profits, investment and write-offs of bad bank loans.

Speaking at the New Year's news conference, televised nationwide, he said 'Japan's economy has strong underlying strength. It has potential energy... Finally, we are starting to see some bright signs.'

Mr Koizumi said Japan's economy has been performing above government expectations as banks h