TOKYO Feb 8 Japan's service sector sentiment
index rose to 49.5 in January, rising for the third straight
month, a Cabinet Office survey showed on Friday, suggesting
recent weak yen and expectations for the government's aggressive
monetary and fiscal policy had helped business confidence.
The survey of workers such as taxi drivers, hotel workers
and restaurant staff -- called "economy watchers" for their
proximity to consumer and retail trends -- showed that their
confidence towards current economic conditions rose from 45.8 in
The Cabinet Office started compiling the data in comparative
form in August 2001.
The outlook index, indicating the level of confidence in
future conditions, was 56.5, up from 51.0 in December.
The Cabinet Office said in its assessment that the economy
was picking up.