Japan's economy contracted in the fourth quarter at the fastest pace since the 1970s. On Tuesday, the Japanese government said its gross domestic product — the total value of goods and services — fell at an annual pace of 12.7 in the fourth quarter. That's about three times the size of the decline in the U.S.
Japan relies heavily on exports, and global demand for Japanese goods like cars and electronics is down sharply. Now some of Japan's best-known companies are eliminating jobs.
Sony is shedding 8,000 workers, while Nissan Motor Co. is cutting 20,000 from its payrolls.
Similar to the U.S., the Japanese government recently passed a stimulus plan. But at about $22 billion, it's relatively small compared with the size of the nation's economy