Japanese big manufacturers' business confidence improved in March from three months ago, the Bank of Japan's closely watched quarterly "tankan" survey showed on Monday.
The headline index for big manufacturers' sentiment stood at plus 12 in March and is expected to fall to plus 11 over the next three months, the tankan showed.
The reading compared with plus 10 seen in the previous survey in December and a median market forecast of plus 14.
The tankan's sentiment indexes are derived by subtracting the number of respondents who say conditions are poor from those who say they are good. A positive reading means optimists outnumber pessimists.