News Column

Japanese Economy Appears Headed Toward Recession

Nov. 13, 2012

The Washington Post

japan flag

Japan's economy contracted 0.9 percent in the late summer, according to government data released Monday, as officials and economists here warned that the country appears headed toward a recession.

At an annualized rate, Japan's gross domestic product shrank 3.5 percent, a reversal following two quarters of growth. The drop-off signals the major obstacles facing the world's third- largest economy as it deals with weakened demand in Europe and a simmering diplomatic spat with China, both of which have hurt Japanese exports.

Japan's exports for the quarter - a period between July and September - plummeted 5 percent, the steepest drop since immediately after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. In part, this may have been due to the anti-Japan demonstrations in China and the subsequent boycott of Japanese goods, Barclays Economic Research wrote in a note after the data were released.

Economists predict that Japan's economy will shrink again in the next quarter, leading to a technical recession. If Japan goes into recession, it would be its third since 2008, according to Bloomberg.

Judging from recent economic indicators, the possibility cannot be ruled out that the Japanese economy is already in a recessionary phase, Japan's economy minister, Seiji Maehara, told reporters.

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