TOKYO Ė Japanís industrial output fell 6.6 percent in January compared to the previous month, the government reported on Wednesday.
The decline, the steepest since the massive magnitude-9.1 earthquake in 2011, contrasts sharply with the 2.7 percent month-on-month increase recorded in December.
Japanís industrial production increased 2.7 percent in January year-on-year, according to figures published by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The sectors that contributed the most to last monthís drop were those of transport equipment, general-purpose machinery and electronic components and devices.
According to a survey of Japanese companies conducted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, industrial production is expected to increase 9.0 percent in February and to decline 2.7 percent in March.
Industrial production, which measures the output of Japanese factories, is considered a key to predict the pace of Japanís economy, which is heavily dependent on the manufacturing sector.