Japan facing challenge of restoring economy

Many analysts say Japan's economy, which has taken a battering from the coronavirus pandemic, will get back on the road to recovery this year. However, they add the government's forecast that the economy will return to pre-pandemic levels by the first half of next year appears unlikely.

According to estimates by 35 private-sector economists that were compiled by the Japan Center for Economic Research, the economy will shrink by 5.37 percent in real terms this fiscal year, which ends in March. But it will grow 3.42 percent in fiscal 2021.

They say personal spending will pick up as economic restrictions gradually ease, and that there will also be an increase in exports, including electronic parts to China and automobiles to the US.

The forecast growth rate for the next fiscal year is the highest since comparable data became available in 1995. Yet it still falls short of the government's projected rate of around 4 percent.

The government will continue to face the difficult task of steering the economy back to recovery by striking a balance between anti-infection steps and economic activity.