Japan 's economy shrank by an annualised 3.7 percent and 0.9 percent on a quarter-to-quarter basis in the first quarter of this year as it was hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Japan Cabinet Office reported.

The contraction was much more severe than the 2.0 percent drop earlier forecast by analysts.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake and a devastating tsunami have left nearly
25,000 dead or missing, and a subsequent emergency at the Fukushima nuclear power plant has plunged Japan into its worst post-war crisis.

Many analysts see the downturn getting worse in Q2, as unresolved nationwide supply chain problems in the wake of the disaster continue to disrupt production.

However, analysts say that GDP should start to grow again in the third
quarter of this year./.