WASHINGTON , Jan. 14 -- ( Kyodo ) _ The World Bank on Tuesday projected a slowdown in the Japanese economy this year due to uncertainty about its structural reform programs but a rosy outlook for the overall global economy. The bank's Global Economic Prospects report said the Japanese economy will grow 1.4 percent in 2014 and 1.2 percent in 2015 in terms of real gross domestic product, down from 1.7 percent in 2013. The projections contrast with a jump in the growth rate of the global economy to 3.2 percent in 2014 and 3.4 percent in 2015, up from 2.4 percent in 2013, thanks to a recovery by developed countries. Developed economies will expand 2.2 percent overall in 2014 compared with 1.3 percent in 2013, with the U.S. growth rate leaping to 2.8 percent in 2014 from 1.8 percent in 2013, the bank said. "In Japan, aggressive fiscal and monetary easing have sparked a strong cyclical recovery, but this recovery is unlikely to be sustained in the absence of structural reforms," the report said. The structural reform programs, unveiled as the "third arrow" of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic recovery programs dubbed Abenomics, "have disappointed thus far," it said. The slowdown over the next two years "is a point estimate of the structural reforms that take place in Japan ," Kaushik Basu , chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank , told reporters. The report described the scheduled hike in the consumption tax rate to 8 percent from 5 percent starting in April as "a drag" on the Japanese economic recovery. After several years of extreme weakness following the 2008 financial crisis, high-income economies including the United States , the eurozone and Japan , "appear to be finally turning the corner," the report said. For the eurozone, which suffered contractions in 2012 and 2013, the bank forecast 1.1 percent growth in 2014 and 1.4 percent growth in 2015. Stronger growth in high-income economies and import demand "will be an important tailwind for developing countries' exports," it said. The bank warned, however, that such positive developments will be partly offset by tighter financial conditions and reduced capital flows as long-term interest rates in the United States tick up in response to expectations of a gradual withdrawal of quantitative easing. The bank projected 5.3 percent growth for developing countries overall this year, up from 4.8 percent last year, with China expanding an unchanged 7.7 percent.
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