A key gauge of business conditions shows Japan's economy is "worsening." This suggests it may be in a recession, a view not seen in more than 6 years.
The Cabinet Office said on Monday that the coincident index in March was down nine-tenths of a point from the previous month.
Officials say a chief factor is falling production of autos and chip-making equipment as the Chinese economy slows, due to the trade row with the US.
This is a downward revision from the previous view, which described the economy as being at "a possible turning point."
It is also contrary to the government's monthly economic report in April, which said the economy is recovering at a moderate pace.
The Cabinet Office says the economic report is a more comprehensive study of various indicators.