1. Wide of Taro Aso, Japanese Prime Minister, walking to podium at the Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) general assembly
2. SOUNDBITE (Japanese) Taro Aso, Japanese Prime Minister:
"I think the global economy has just embarked on building a new order after such financial chaos. And I understand we (Japan) have a responsibility to meet such expectation (to contribute to resolving the crisis). Decisive action is called for to tackle such a crisis, once in a century."
3. Wide of Masaaki Shirakawa, Bank of Japan Governor at podium
4. SOUNDBITE (Japanese) Masaaki Shirakawa, Bank of Japan Governor:
"Many say that the US economy will return to the recovery track in the latter half of next year. But, there is no positive reasons backing up such speculation and I understand such views as a message that the severe condition continues for another while."
5. Wide of Shirakawa at podium
TV Tokyo - No Access Japan
Nagoya, Japan - 22 December 2008
6. Wide of Toyota news conference, pull in to Katsuaki Watanabe, Toyota President, walking to lectern
7. SOUNDBITE (Japanese) Katsuaki Watanabe, Toyota President:
"The world has been changing drastically since last year. The world economy is facing a crisis that comes once in a hundred years. And, the impact of the change is being felt far faster, wider and deeper than expected."
8. Cutaway of news conference
9. SOUNDBITE (Japanese) Katsuaki Watanabe, Toyota President:
"The environment surrounding us is extremely harsh. Now we are facing the unprecedented crisis so that we are compelled to review our profit result to negative figure for this quarter."
FILE: Tokyo, Japan - 2005, Exact date unknown
10. Various of Toyota stand at Toyota Motor Show
11. Various shots of "Lexus" cars in Lexus show room
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said on Monday that "decisive action" was needed to tackle the global financial crisis, as Toyota said it would barely break even this fiscal year through March, slashing its profit forecast.
Japanese exports plunged a record 26.7 percent in November, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday, highlighting the drop in global consumer demand for cars, electronics parts and other Japanese products.
Economists warned that exports - a mainstay of the world's second-largest economy - would tumble further with no recovery in sight for the global economy.
Speaking in Tokyo at the Japan Business Federation general assembly, Aso said that the global economy had embarked on "building a new order" after the financial upheaval of recent months.
He added that it was Japan's responsibility to contribute to the resolution of the crisis.
Japan unveiled a budget proposal on Saturday that, if approved, will push spending to record levels as the government scrambles to battle an ever-deepening recession.
Battered by plunging global demand and a strengthening yen, major exporters like Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Corp. have scaled back production, jobs and earnings projections.
Toyota on Monday said it would barely break even this fiscal year through March, slashing its profit forecast to 50 billion yen (555 (m) million US dollars), a fraction of the 1.7 trillion yen it earned the previous year.
Speaking at the company's Nagoya office, Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said the drop in vehicle sales over the last month was "far faster, wider and deeper than expected."
Sinking sales in the US in the wake of the financial crisis have dealt a heavy blow to Japanese automakers.
But Watanabe said that emerging markets, which had held up in the beginning, were also slowing down now.
The surging yen has battered profits as well by eroding overseas earnings when converted back to yen.
The dollar has fallen to 13-year lows of about 90 yen recently.
This is the second time Toyota Motor Corp. - which makes the popular Camry sedan and Prius gas-electric hybrid - has reduced it annual earnings forecast this year.
Initially, it had been projecting 1.25 (t) trillion yen (13.9 (b) billion US dollars) in profit for the year through March 2009, but last month it reduced
that to 550 (b) billion yen (6.1 (b) billion US dollars) before chopping it further on Monday.
It also lowered the number of vehicles it expects to sell globally this calendar year to 8.96 (m) million, down 4 percent from a year ago, Watanabe told reporters.
Unlike previous years, he gave no goal for vehicle sales for 2009.
Toyota also lowered its sales forecast for the fiscal year through March to 21.5 (t) trillion yen (239 (b) billion US dollars), down about 18 percent from the previous fiscal year.
Toyota's US vehicles sales plunged by a third on year in November, when overall sales fell to their lowest level in more than 26 years.
And there is little hope for a quick recovery as consumers hold back big purchases amid a serious downturn.
While Japan's automakers are in far better financial shape than the cash-strapped American counterparts, the global slowdown is hitting them
Toyota is a relatively old-style Japanese corporation that offers lifetime employment, and in only recent years has hired and let go of temporary workers to adjust production.
The company's stock fell 5 yen, or 0.17 percent, to 2,895 yen.