Green shoots of economic recovery that had begun to spring up domestically in the latter half of 2021 seemed to be put under threat at the end of the year due to the emergence of the omicron variant, which cast yet another shadow over service sectors such as travel and dining that have already been hit hard by the pandemic.

But growing evidence of the effectiveness of booster shots, combined with Japan's already high vaccination rate, is helping to lift some of that pessimism, and many experts believe that 2022 will be the year when the economy gets back on track as people tap into the savings they've amassed. Japan in fact already got a taste of a rebound from late September, after the fifth COVID-19 wave subsided and states of emergency were lifted across the country.

“Signs of resuscitation have already been visible in the October-December quarter and we think that this recovery will continue,” said Saisuke Sakai, senior economist at Mizuho Research and Technologies, a Tokyo-based think tank.