Tokyo: Devastated by the impact of the March 11 twin disasters, Japan's economy fell back into recession in January-March, data showed on Thursday.

The economy shrank by an annualised 3.7 percent in the first three months of the year, marking the second consecutive quarter of contraction, which is seen as a technical recession.

The fall was much more severe than the 2.0 percent drop forecast in a Dow Jones Newswires poll of analysts and was the first successive contraction since the 2008 financial
crisis.

It was the steepest slippage since a record 18.3 percent contraction in January March 2009.

Gross domestic product fell 0.9 percent on a quarter-to-quarter basis, government data showed.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake and a devastating tsunami has left nearly 25,000 dead or missing, and with a subsequent emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has plunged Japan into its worst post-war crisis.

Worse in April-June

As unresolved nationwide supply chain problems in the wake of the twin-disasters continue to hamper production, analysts observe the slump getting worse in April-June.

Many component manufacturers are based in the worst-hit regions of Japan, their facilities damaged by the earthquake or inundated by the giant wave that followed.

Power shortages also threaten the economy, and while initial fears of a supply-demand imbalance going into the summer months have eased slightly, the situation is seen to remain volatile.

In the aftermath of the disasters, output, activity and spending nose-dived while consumer and business confidence took a tumble.

(Agencies)