Vol. 5 Num 295 Sat. March 26, 2005  

Robust US, China outlook to help Japan growth : OECD

OECD Secretary General Donald Johnston on Friday said the Japanese economy should benefit from expected robust growth in the United States and China, Japan's key export markets.

Growth in the US economy, the world's largest, appeared to be "quite robust" while China, Japan's largest trading partner, was forecast to maintain growth of around 8.0-9.0 percent through to 2010, he told reporters.

"As far as the Japanese economy is concerned, consumer confidence seems to be returning to provide growth," he said, adding: "No one is predicting strong growth in Japan but certainly growth."

"I do believe that going forward the United States economy looks quite robust, and that's good news for all of us," Johnston said.

"The Chinese economy, which is very important to Japan's exports, appears also to be growing at a rate of eight to nine percent ... and people are saying that at least until 2010," Johnston said.

"It should be good news to Japan but also good news to the world," he said.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has forecast Japanese economic growth of around 1.5 percent for 2005 and 2006.

Official data showed that Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.7 percent in inflation adjusted terms in 2004 after rising 1.4 percent in 2003.

Japan slipped into a mild recession in the middle of last year but crawled out in the last quarter of 2004, with GDP growing 0.1 percent from the three months to September, or an annualized 0.5 percent.

Johnston was in Japan to visit the World Exposition in the western province of Aichi and to meet government leaders.