Japan's gross domestic product plunged at a record annual pace of 15.2% in the three months to March as exports collapsed and businesses cut production, the government said Wednesday.

It was the biggest fall since records were first kept in 1955.

GDP for all of fiscal 2008 also saw its biggest ever fall of 3.5%.

The Cabinet Office said weak overseas and domestic demand caused the economy to contract for the fourth straight quarter, following an annualised 14.4% drop in the October-December period.

Japan Times