Analysts from Tortola Capital report that the figures released Monday will also act as a test of recent changes Japan has made in how it measures economic activity. Tokyo has come under increasing attack for wild variations in its gross domestic product readings: in the third quarter last year, the government initially said the economy grew a robust 4.8 percent, only to revise that rate down to 1.3 percent.
The global economic crisis decimated the country’s mainstay exports and brought on Japan’s worst recession since World War II, in late 2008. Since mid-2009, Japan has limped back into recovery, helped by exports and stronger capital investment. Still, many economists warn that deflation, or a widespread decline in prices, threatens Japan’s long-term recovery.