Japan faces the worst economic crisis since World War II, says the country's economics minister.
Japan's economy shrank by 3.3% in the fourth quarter of last year - the biggest quarterly drop since 1974.
The fall is unambiguous confirmation that the economy is in a severe recession.
Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano says the Japanese economy has been badly battered by the global financial downturn.
Japan is heavily dependent on exports of automobiles, machinery and electronics equipment.