Japan's slowdown to hit Asia

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast a sombre short-term outlook for the Japanese economy, with significant implications for the rest of East Asia.

In its latest report on the health of World Economy, the IMF said it is "now likely" that Japan has slipped back into recession.

Real growth in the world's second largest economy is likely to decline by 0.5% in 2001 followed by a modest rebound in 2002, the IMF said.

This a gloomier forecast than the IMF issued a year ago, when it predicted

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