Japan's economy has come through the worst of its biggest crisis since World War II, the head of the country's top business lobby said in an interview published Tuesday.
"Major industrialised nations are using all their fiscal and financial tools to rebuild their economies, and some signs of life are beginning to emerge," Japan Business Federation chairman Fujio Mitarai told the Nikkei daily.
"Although the sun has not risen yet, we are finally beginning to see what is ahead. In this regard we have come through the worst," he said.
Mitarai, who is also chairman of high-tech giant Canon Inc, said the world's second-largest economy could turn a corner later this year.
"In the ideal scenario, the economy will hit bottom in the July-September period and grow slightly in the following quarter," he said, while forecasting a contraction of some three percent in this business year to March.
Tokyo said Monday it expected the economy to shrink 3.3 percent in the same period, its worst slump in at least half a century, as the government presses ahead with a record stimulus package.
Recent data have sparked hopes that the slump in the Japanese economy may be easing, with exports showing signs of bottoming out.
Tokyo is also planning 15.4 trillion yen (150 billion dollars) of stimulus spending that it says should boost economic output by two percent this year.