FILE PHOTO: Markers for social distancing are seen in an elevator as staff members wearing protective masks and face shields prepare Nihombashi Takashimaya Shopping Center as it partially reopens to customers amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo, Japan, May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s service sector sentiment index rose in August, a Cabinet Office survey showed on Tuesday, signalling some improvement in business confidence although worries remained over the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
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 their confidence about current economic conditions grew 2.8 points from July to 43.9. The index hit a record low in April.
The Cabinet Office, in its assessment, said that the index was picking up but that the pandemic continued to have a severe impact.
Reporting by Hiroko Hamada; Writing by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim