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Japan industrial output posts best gain in 6 years

TOKYO–Japanese industrial production rose 4.0% on month in April, government data showed Wednesday, posting the biggest jump in nearly six years.

Output of cars and semiconductor production equipment buoyed the figures for the biggest percentage gain since June 2011, when industrial production jumped 4.2% in the aftermath of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan earlier that year.

Still, the gain was lower than a 4.5% rise forecast by economists polled by the Nikkei.

The figure has been volatile in recent months. In March, industrial production fell 2.1%, after rising 3.2% in February.

A survey included in the report suggests that volatility could continue in coming months. Manufacturers expect output to fall 2.5% in May, before increasing 1.8% in June.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry kept its assessment of production unchanged, saying that production was picking up.

Write to Yoko Kubota at yoko.kubota@wsj.com.

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