A key gauge of business conditions in Japan has improved for the fourth month in a row, potentially fanning hopes of economic recovery even as the pandemic continues.
In particular, it shows sectors such as the auto industry could be shifting back into gear.
The government's Coincident Index rose 1.4 points in September from the month before.
Officials say output of vehicles and auto parts picked up ... with exports to China and the US increasing.
But the picture wasn't all rosy - retail sales remained sluggish and the job market worsened.