And we thought we had it bad. Let's hope this Asian flu isn't as contagious as the last one. The Financial Times reports Japan's government might be forced to declare that the country has entered a technical recession, according to several economists, although any downturn is likely to be far shallower than previous contractions in 2001 and 1998.
A statement from the cabinet office that the economy was "deteriorating" would in effect declare an end to what has been the longest recovery since the Second World War.
Japan's economy has been growing at a rate of about 2 percent a year since 2002, a sustained, if relatively modest, spurt of growth that has helped it overcome its post-bubble debt overhang, according to the Times.
However, economists told the paper that the cabinet may be left with little choice but to declare the cycle has ended, following a series of data culminating in confirmation that industrial production had contracted for a second straight quarter.