Japan's exports fell the steepest in the year till September since the aftermath of last year's earthquake, while the Bank of Japan slashed its outlook for local regional economies due to a row with China and weak global demand.
The sentiment among manufacturers in October was at the lowest since early 2010, according to separate data which reinforced concerns that the country might slide back into recession amid flagging sales to China and Europe and rebuilding from last year's earthquake and tsunami disaster loses momentum.
The weak figures added to pressure on the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to stimulate the economy, and expectations are centred on economic forecasts and a further pondering over easing monetary policy at its 30 October meeting, according to sources familiar with its thinking.
Prime minister Yoshihiko Noda told his cabinet last week to prepare a fresh stimulus package by next month, however, the plan's limited scope and lack of detail did not go down well with the market.
Exports fell 10.3 per cent in the year to September, against a 9.6 per cent drop expected by economists, down for four months in a row, with car, electronics and other shipments dropping, according to Ministry of Finance data.
It matched the fall in May 2011 and came as the sharpest since April that year in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan's northeast.