Tokyo: Japan’s pandemic-hit GDP in fiscal 2020 fell by 4.6% in real terms from the previous year, which marked the sharpest decline since data began to be compiled in 1955, the Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday, citing preliminary data released by the Cabinet Office.
The previous record-low GDP was recorded in 2008 with a 3.6% contraction.
“It was a record shrinkage, but at the time of the global financial crisis, considerable GDP drops were marked in the two fiscal years of 2008 and 2009,” Atsushi Takeda, the chief economist of the Itochu Research Institute, was quoted as saying by the media outlet, adding that “we can’t judge yet, with just the latest figure, whether the coronavirus shock is bigger.”
Private consumption in Japan dropped by 6% in 2020, as people avoided dining out and traveling for fear of contracting COVID-19. Exports of goods and services fell by 10.4% amid lockdowns worldwide, while imports shrank by 6.8%.
In the meantime, Japan’s economy dropped by 1.3% in the first quarter of 2021.
According to Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan aims to support the business sector, employment and the well-being of those who have been affected by the pandemic.