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The economy plummeted at an annualized pace of 12.7 percent in the three months through December, the worst fall in the past 35 years. Gross domestic product for 2008 shrank 0.7 percent in real terms, compared with 2.4 percent growth in 2007.

The Cabinet Office in a report released Monday said weak overseas and domestic demand led the GDP to contract for the third straight quarter, following an annualized 2.3 percent July-September fall.

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