Japan has sealed its longest stretch of economic growth in more than two decades, helped by a rise in business investment. The economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.5% in the three months to September, revised data showed. The growth rate was faster than expected, and higher than the initial estimate of 1.4%.The solid growth figures come after more than four years of economic stimulus by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.Growth was driven by rising exports thanks to robust global demand, and also by increased spending by Japanese firms on equipment and facilities. That helped to offset a drop in consumer spending at home. The world’s third-largest economy has now grown for seven straight quarters. Marcel Thieliant, senior Japan economist at Capital Economics, said this put Japan in its longest stretch of uninterrupted growth since at least 1994, when comparable data was made available. Mr Abe’s economic policies – dubbed “Abenomics” – have been partly credited for the expansion. The programme, a mix of monetary easing, government spending and structural reforms, was designed to reignite the once-booming economy and lift consumer prices.Japan has battled years of deflation, or falling prices, and slow growth following an equity and property market bubble in the early 1990s.