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Japan is projected to stay mired in recession in 2009 after posting negative growth for 2008 as the export-led economy is battered by plummeting demand overseas and the yen’s strength against other major currencies.

Most economists forecast the economy will take a sharp downturn in the first half of 2009 and gradually pick up when the U.S. economy hits bottom in the latter half of the year. Tokyo will also experience a revival of deflation as crude oil prices continue to dive, they say.

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