It's official: Japan's economy shrivelled at a record pace in the first quarter.
Needless to say the 4.0 percent contraction in GDP (an annual rate of 15.2 percent, if you speak American) from January to March was not pretty -- especially when you see that the pain has spread from Japan's big autos and tech factories to the broader economy.
Much has been written about Japan's heavy dependence on exports from its powerful manufacturers and how the slide in orders from the United States and Europe has forced factories to curb output, lay off staff and slash capital investment.
But that GDP figure is looking backwards to a time we know was bleak for the economy.
Just as the West is looking for signs of "green shoots" of new growth to see if the worst is over, so Japan is looking to see if its economy is now starting to sprout cherry blossoms -- the traditional sign of spring in this part of the world.
The good news is that companies are starting to see a tentative pick-up in sales.