72% OF MAJOR JAPANESE FIRMS SEE MODERATE GROWTH THIS YEAR
Some 72 percent of major Japanese companies expect the economy to expand at a moderate pace in 2021 amid hopes that the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will subside, a Kyodo News survey showed.
Despite such a positive outlook on the world's third-largest economy, more than a quarter of the 109 firms in the survey, or 29 percent, said they are not sure when their sales will return to pre-pandemic levels, and 13 percent expect any recovery to materialize in 2023 or later, indicating that corporate Japan remains cautious about their businesses.
Kyodo News conducted the survey between mid-November and early December, targeting major companies in each sector. The 109 firms include Toyota Motor Corp., Sony Corp., Seven & i Holdings Co. and ANA Holdings Inc.
A sense of caution prevailed toward the end of 2020 as Japan was hit by resurging coronavirus cases.
It came as the Japanese economy was gradually rebounding from its worst contraction in the April-June quarter when Japan was placed under a state of emergency over the novel coronavirus, Mainichi Shimbun also reported.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had sought to balance supporting the economy and tackling the health crisis but his handling of the pandemic has been called into question.
The survey found 72 percent see moderate growth, followed by 17 percent that expect economic conditions to remain unchanged.
Some 2 percent said the economy will expand, while another 2 percent project a moderate contraction, according to the survey.
With multiple answers allowed, 64 percent of the firms expecting economic growth in the year ahead said the impact of the pandemic will stabilize and 47 percent cited recovering private consumption.
Some 32 percent picked a recovery in overseas economies and 14 percent pinned hopes on the effects of economic stimulus by the government.