Japan's economy in the January-March period shrank an annualized real 3.4 percent from the previous quarter due to the global coronavirus pandemic, a significant contraction for the second consecutive quarter that pushes the world's third-largest economy into recession, government data showed Monday.

The data showed gross domestic product, the total value of goods and services produced in the country, corresponded to a 0.9 percent decrease on a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis.

Japan now meets the technical definition of a recession of at least two consecutive quarters of negative GDP -- following a 7.3 percent slump during October-December -- for the first time since the fourth quarter in 2015.

The economy is also highly likely to contract for a third consecutive quarter in the April-June period, probably falling at its fastest pace in the postwar years due to the impact of the virus, with some private-sector e-conomists forecasting annualized contraction of over 20 percent in those three months.

The January-March outcome was, however, better than the average forecast of a 5.0 percent annualized real contraction made by private-sector e-conomists polled by Kyodo News.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, told a press conference that GDP in the April-June period will "get more serious" than the January-March figure, and the economy will "slow down to a considerable extent for the time being."