Japan's economy logged a third quarter of growth in the three months ending June, but the increase was much smaller than expected, heightening calls for the government to delay a controversial sales tax hike some have said who hamper the country's recovery.
The economy grew 2.6 percent on an annualized basis in the April to June quarter, lower than 3.6 percent growth forecast according to Reuters and follows the 4.1 percent growth in the first quarter, government data showed on Monday.
Quarter on quarter growth came in at 0.6 percent, versus expectations of 0.9 percent and compared to the 1 percent figure logged in the first quarter.
(Read More: Could Japan fall back into recession next year?)
The data drew mixed reaction from government officials over the plan to raise a consumption tax in April 2014.
While the adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Koichi Hamada, said the figures showed the government was in no hurry to raise the tax and could consider delaying the measure by one year, economy minister Akira Amari described the data as "good numbers" which are supportive to the sales tax hike plan.
Japan is due to raise its sales tax in April to 8 percent from 5 percent, and to 10 percent in October 2015, in a move that will help the economy cut its fiscal debt of over 200 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). A decision is expected to be made on September 9 following the release of revised second quarter GDP figures.