Japan's gross domestic product expanded 0.5% in the first quarter of 2016, revised official data showed today, up from the initial figure of 0.4%. 

The new reading gave an annualised rate of 1.9%, after a contraction in the last three months of 2015, according to the figures from the Cabinet Office. 

The preliminary data released last month gave a yearly rate of 1.7%. 

The figures, which matched market forecasts, came after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would delay a sales tax hike that threatened to derail the country's fragile turnaround. 

Under his signature "Abenomics" revitalisation programme, he has sought to boost the world's third-largest economy with a combination of massive monetary easing, fiscal spending and structural reforms.

But the decision to delay the tax hike drew a warning from credit rating agency Fitch, which said it would "undermine the credibility" of Japan's commitment to paying down one the biggest national debts.