• Kyodo News

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The economy will shrink by an average annualized rate of 4.1 percent in fiscal 2009 after shrinking by an expected 2.9 percent in fiscal 2008, which ends next month, according to dire forecasts by eight major private economic research institutes as of Thursday.

If the projections for real gross domestic product for fiscal 2008 and 2009 come true, they will be steeper than the 1.5 percent contraction Japan saw in fiscal 1998. That was the worst on record.

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