TOKYO, June 15 (UPI) -- Japan's economic growth forecast for fiscal 2011 will be downgraded sharply due to the impact from the earthquake-tsunami disaster, its economic minister says.
Kaoru Yosano, pointing to the March 11 catastrophe, said Wednesday the government, in its outlook to be issued next month, would project the GDP or gross domestic product growth for the year could be close to nil, Kyodo News reported. That would be down from its earlier forecast of 1.5 percent.
An average derived recently by the projections of 22 think tanks and financial institutions forecast GDP would fall to 0.2 percent, the news agency said.
"Usually there is no big difference between the government projection and the average of private sector forecasts," Yosano told reporters Wednesday after a Cabinet meeting to assess latest economic conditions after March 11.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan echoed Yosano's assessment.
"The economy is expected to recover in the latter half of this year, but in the medium and long term, new efforts will be required to stimulate growth," Kyodo quoted Kan as saying.
Yosano said the economy would return to a growth path between this fall and the beginning of next year as the government addresses supply-chain disruptions that have hit industrial output and exports. But he also did not rule out risks, including power shortages resulting from both the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and problems at some thermal plants.