The growth of the Japanese economy is best explained as a dichotomy: Viewed in a broad historical context, gross domestic product in Japan has consistently grown for eight quarters, the longest individual period of such sustained progress in 30 years, according to Bloomberg. But the 0.5 percent expansion calculated for December 2017 fell short of economists' expectations and the past two quarters of the year, which both saw growth greater than 2 percent.
This slowdown could put renewed pressure on the Bank of Japan that it may not immediately match: Growth throughout much of 2017 led many economic experts to project that the BOJ would enact policy normalization measures. Currency deflation, a probable side effect of the aforementioned reduction in growth, will put a temporary damper on those plans.
Government officials did not seem overly concerned with this short-term slowdown in recent public statements about the economy. Reuters reported that the Cabinet Office simply stated, "Japan's economy is gradually recovering."
Yet for most of 2017, despite the months of continued growth, the Office hadn't been as positive, upgrading its assessment to only a level identical to its latest statement in January 2018.
Other positive economic indicators affecting Japan included increases in labor demand, capital expenditure and industrial output, as well as strong, stable demand for consumer packaged goods, according to Reuters.