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Coronavirus threatens Japan rebound as GDP falls most in 5 years

Economy contracts 6.3% in final quarter of last year on sales-tax hike

 People walk in Tokyo's Ginza district on Feb. 3. A sign in front of the store shows that foreign visitors need not pay the 10% sale tax. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

TOKYO -- A sales-tax hike and destructive typhoon plunged Japan's economy into its biggest contraction in five years in the final quarter of 2019. Now, the novel coronavirus outbreak is threatening a return to growth.

Gross domestic product for the world's third-biggest economy shrank an annualized 6.3% from a quarter earlier, according to data released by the Cabinet Office on Monday.

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