Japan’s Economic Outlook for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021

Economic Research Department Executive Research Fellow Taro Saito 


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<Real GDP growth rate: FY 2020 5.8%, FY 2021 + 3.6% forecast>
  1. The real gross domestic product (GDP) in the April–June quarter of 2020 marked a record minus annual growth of 27.8%, reflecting a sharp drop in private consumption due to self-restraint in going out following the declaration of a state of emergency.
  2. The resumption of economic activities after the declaration of emergency was lifted will result in a high annual growth rate of 13.1% in the July–September quarter of 2020 compared to the previous quarter. However, as the number of people who tested positive for the new coronavirus is again increasing, there has been a growing trend toward self-restraint, and the normalization of the economy has been delayed.
  3. It will take time for economic activity to return to its original level, as social distancing will curb spending on services such as dining out, travel, and entertainment. Moreover, bankruptcies and a sharp increase in unemployment have damaged the economic foundation for V-shaped recovery. The real GDP growth rate is forecast to be minus 5.8% in fiscal year (FY) 2020 and 3.6% in FY 2021.
  4. Due to the rapid deterioration of the economy, the unemployment rate is expected to rise from the current high of 2% to approximately 4%. In 2020, employee compensation is expected to decrease for the first time in eight years. The disposable income of households will be pushed up by the provision of special fixed amount benefits in FY 2020, but it will inevitably drop in FY 2021 as a reaction. In the long run, the deterioration of the employment income environment is likely to delay the recovery of consumption.
Changes in real GDP growth rate

1.Record negative growth in April–June 2020 at an annualized rate of minus 27.8%
・Economic developments after the lifting of the declaration of the state of emergency

2.Real GDP growth rate is expected to decrease 5.8% in FY 2020 and increase 3.6% in FY 2021
・Strong growth of more than 10% per annum in the July–September 2020 quarter failed to fully recover from the decline in the April–June quarter
・Unemployment rises to 4% and employee compensation falls for the first time in eight years
・Corporate revenues fall beyond the world financial crisis
・Price outlook

Economic Research Department   Executive Research Fellow

Taro Saito

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