20 May 2009

Japan economy plunging at record rate

9:44 pm on 20 May 2009

The Japanese government says the country's economy is plunging at its fastest rate since records began more than 50 years ago.

Gross domestic product in the world's second largest economy shrank by 4% in the first three months of this year, compared with the last quarter of 2008.

The decline of Japan's economy is markedly worse than the recessions in the United States or the Eurozone, the BBC reports.

The latest figures showed the worst fall in GDP since the government began gathering comparable data in 1955.

Japan has been hit so hard because its exports have collapsed. Consumers around the world are buying fewer cars and electronic gadgets.

Companies have slashed the output of factories and unemployment has risen.

But economists predict a modest growth in the coming months, after a small rise in production in March.