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Japan Records Second Straight Quarter of Economic Growth

Japan's gross domestic product rose one-point-three-percent after adjustments for inflation in the first three months of this year.

The preliminary report from Japan's Cabinet office puts annual growth on track to exceed five percent. Economists say personal consumption was the primary factor, as consumer spending rebounded in the first quarter.

Japan's economy minister, Heizo Takenaka, says a broad recovery appears to be under way.

Mr. Takenaka says the trend appears to indicate that the economy will come out of the doldrums toward the middle of the year. But, he also reiterated his view that deflation in Japan is primarily being caused by monetary policy, amid a real economic recovery.

Many economists say it is getting more difficult for Japan's central bank to continue to justify its ultra-loose monetary policy, amid a shrinking demand for cash from the country's financial institutions.

Efforts to reach agreement on a unified format for the next generation digital video disks appear to have reached an impasse.

The president of Matsushita Electric, Kunio Nakamura, says negotiators for the two competing formats are back to square one. Discussions began a month ago. Mr. Nakamura says Matsushita will not give up on its Blu-ray format, and it is now up to the other side to abandon its quest for the HD-DVD format. Blu-ray is also supported by Sony, while Toshiba and NEC are the primary backers of the competing format.

Toyota is announcing its largest-ever safety recall. The top Japanese automaker says it wants to make modifications on nearly 900,000 pickup trucks and suburban utility vehicles, most of them in North America.

Toyota says the problem could hinder steering, because the surface of a ball joint that connects to the front suspension may have been scratched when it was manufactured. The company said it will start notifying owners in July about how to get free repairs.