Household spending in Japan rose 7.2 percent in March from a year earlier as consumers stepped up spending ahead of an April 1 rise in the country's consumption tax, data on Friday showed.
The rise compared with forecasts for a 1 percent increase by economists polled by Reuters.
Data released at the same time showed Japan's adjusted jobless rate at 3.6 percent in March, unchanged from February, while the availability of jobs hit their highest level in nearly seven years.
Japan's sales tax rose to 8 percent from 5 percent last month, the first hike in 17 years. There are concerns that the rise could hurt consumption in the months ahead, derailing a recovery in the world's third largest economy.
Economists say wage increases could be key to underpinning consumption and in turn the economy.