World News

Japan Suffers Worst Economic Decline On Record Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The Japanese economy has suffered its worst decline on record as the world’s third largest economy battles the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19 pandemic.

The Asian country saw its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fall 7.8% in the April to June quarter, or 27.8% on an annualised basis.

Japan had already slumped into recession earlier this year following two successive quarters of economic contraction and Monday’s figures confirmed its biggest fall since records began in 1980.

The third straight quarter of declines knocked the size of real GDP to decade-low levels of 485 trillion yen.

Japan’s GDP contraction was largely due to shrinking consumer spending because of the restrictions imposed to contain COVID-19, as well as falling exports.

Japanese flag

Consumption, which accounts for more than half of Japan’s economy, slumped 8.2% for the quarter as businesses across the country shuttered during a six-week national emergency in April and May. On the other hand, overseas shipments tumbled 18.5%.

Economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura admitted the GDP readings were “pretty severe”, but pointed to some bright spots such as a recent pickup in consumption.

But Japan performed better than other major economies in the April-June period, when the United States and Germany both recorded 10% falls over the previous quarter and British output crashed 20.4%.

On Monday, the Japanese Health Ministry announced 642 new COVID-19 cases and 16 additional deaths.

The new figures raise the national total to 57,397 cases and 1,128 deaths.

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