Japan admits economic going is getting tougher

Japan acknowledged on Feb 13, 2001 it is flirting with recession, but ministers and some economists expressed confidence the steps by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to calm the money markets would help to put a floor under the economy. Economics Minister Taro Aso said he expected GDP in the final three months of 2001 to be flat, leaving it touch-and-go whether the widely accepted definition of recession - two consecutive quarters of shrinking output - would be fulfilled.

Figures last week showed gros