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Japan now in recession

Japan's economy unexpectedly slipped into recession over the summer, setting the stage for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) to delay an unpopular sales tax hike and call a snap election two years before he has due to go to the polls.

The recession comes nearly two years after Abe returned to power promising to revive the economy with a mix of monetary stimulus, spending and reforms, and is unwelcome news for an already shaky global economy. An Abe adviser termed the economic slide as "shocking".