02/16/2009, 00.00
JAPAN
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Tokyo, worst economic crisis since war

Figures released today show worst results in 35 years. Exports of automobiles, machinery, and IT equipment at a standstill. A second stimulus plan amounting to 30 trillion Yen probable.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Japan faces the worst economic crisis since second world war, its economics minister warned today. It’s economy shrank 3.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year at an annualised pace of 12.7 % , its worst performance since 1974 when the country was reeling from an oil crisis.

Japan’s figures were worse than the downturn ensnaring all other major economic powers in the same quarter. The euro zone GDP shrank 1.5%, while the USA shrank just under 1%.

Kaoru Yosano, Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister said the data is due to the fact that Japan “is heavily dependent on exports of automobiles, machinery, and IT equipment”, which has been literally reduced to zero by the global crisis.  He said Japan's economy would not be able to bounce back until the global economic climate improves. The contraction is resulting in a series of redundancies and the bankruptcy of many small industries.  Consumption is also in free fall.

Experts forecast that the January – March quarter will also be very negative, as will the rest of the year.

The economy minister says the government will consider fresh stimulus measures to revive the economy amounting to 30 trillion yen (255 billion Euro), but doubts surround how effective this will be.

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