Japan GDP shrinks 1.3 pc in April-June quarter

By the Associated Press | August 14, 2011 | 9:14 PM EDT

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's economy contracted in the April-June quarter, due to the lingering impact from March's massive earthquake and tsunami that damaged large parts of the country's northern coast, the government said Monday.

Real gross domestic product — a measure of the value of all goods and services produced domestically — contracted at an annualized rate of 1.3 percent in the quarter, the Cabinet Office said.

The result marks the third straight quarter of contraction for the world's third-largest economy but was better than an annualized 2.6 percent fall forecast in a Kyodo News agency survey.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami left about 23,000 people dead or missing, and wiped out large parts of Japan's northern coast. The disasters damaged many factories in the region, causing severe shortages of parts and components for manufacturers across the country, including automakers.

The disasters also crippled a nuclear power plant and caused a widespread power crunches, adding to the headaches faced by businesses and households. Fear of radiation has forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes.

The figure from the latest quarter translates to a 0.3 percent fall from the previous three-month period, the Cabinet Office said.

Consumer spending, which accounts for some 60 percent of GDP, dipped 0.1 percent. Capital investments by companies was up 0.2 percent from the earlier quarter.