Japan economy to notch sharp recovery from pandemic toward end-2021

Kyodo -- Jan 05
Japan's economy is expected to make its sharpest rebound in decades this year, with consumption set to pick up toward the end of 2021 as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the broader economy eases.

The world's third largest economy is projected to grow 3.42 percent in the next fiscal year to March 2022 following a 5.37 percent shrinkage this fiscal year, according to the average forecast of 35 economists polled by the Japan Center for Economic Research.

If the estimate is borne out, it would see a turnaround from the worst contraction to the highest growth since fiscal 1995, when comparative date became available.

The government aims to bring the economy back to pre-pandemic levels with help from stimulus measures next fiscal year. But economists said such a view seems too optimistic and that a recent resurgence of infections with new virus variants emerging could even stall the recovery in early 2021.

Consumer spending is poised to gather momentum as COVID-19 vaccines become available for widespread use by summer and would also get a one-off boost if the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics go ahead from July as currently planned.

- Kyodo