The effect of the new coronavirus on the economy could be worse than the 2008 financial crisis, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said.

Speaking on Fuji TV, Nishimura called Sunday for strong measures to protect the economy and said proper consideration should be given to whether reducing the consumption tax would bolster consumer spending.

The economy was already teetering on the brink of recession when the effect of the virus began to kick in, partly due to an increase in the consumption tax to 10 percent in October, up from 8 percent. Some have called for the increase to be reversed to help encourage consumption.