• Kyodo News


Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano reiterated Friday that he intends to reduce Japan’s growth forecasts for fiscal 2009 because recent economic data are coming in “substantially below our projections.”

“I think it is about time we show the government’s new economic forecasts” because hanging on to its current estimates would be “disloyal” to the public, Yosano said.

“Every bit of statistical data we could obtain was substantially below our projections,” Yosano said.

The government has said real gross domestic product will remain almost flat in fiscal 2009, which begins in April. But the Bank of Japan has warned the economy will contract 2.0 percent.

Private think tanks are even more pessimistic, predicting real GDP to shrink by an average of 4.0 percent.

In the three months through December, the economy shrank an annualized 12.7 percent from the previous quarter — the fastest pace of contraction in nearly 35 years.

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