Japanese Current Events
In a development that could further strengthen the case of Japan's opposition leader Shinzo Abe for more fiscal stimulus and "unlimited" easing of monetary policies to spur economic growth, the world's third-largest economy sank into a technical recession in the first six months of the fiscal year to September.
The Cabinet Office's second reading released in Tokyo shows that the country's gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 3.5 per cent in the three months through September compared to the previous year, matching the agency's preliminary reading. The economy thus qualified for a textbook definition of a recession following the government's revision of the previous quarter's GDP to a 0.1 per cent contraction
The latest data is seen as another blow for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda whose party, the Democratic Party of Japan, seeks to maintain control in the lower house when voters head to the polls on Dec. 16.
Abe, leader of the opposition bloc Liberal Democratic Party, is highly expected to win the election by a solid majority. He has been critical of leaders from the ruling party and current monetary policies by the Bank of Japan which he said has failed to boost demand in an economy that has contracted in three of the last four years.
A technical recession occurs when an economy slips into two straight quarters of contraction. A government-organized panel is tasked to officially define a Japanese recession that makes use of data beyond GDP figures.
Noda has maintained that Abe's proposals will seriously undermine the independence of the central bank and noted that Japan's previous policies of wasteful construction have resulted to swelling of the gross debts that is more than twice the nation's gross output.
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