Japan's exports fell by nearly half last month, with shipments of cars plummeting by over two thirds, plunging the world's second largest economy ever deeper into recession.

Japan recorded its largest monthly trade deficit in almost three decades, according to trade figures released yesterday, stunning economic observers and worsening the gloomy forecast for the rest of the year. Exports were down by 46 per cent in January compared with the same month last year, as sales to Asia and the West slumped. That was the steepest fall in exports recorded in Japan since 1957.

'Everything points to a recession that will be exceptionally long and deep,' said Tetsuro Kato, a political economist at Tokyo's Hitotsubashi University. 'I believe it could take Japan a decade to recover.'

Financial Time, Japan Times