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Tokyo, April 8 (Reuters) - Japan’s service sector sentiment index plunged to a two-year low in March, a Cabinet Office survey showed on Friday, with confidence hurt by the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11 and a subsequent nuclear crisis.
The survey of workers such as taxi drivers, hotel workers and restaurant staff — called “economy watchers” for their proximity to consumer and retail trends — showed their confidence about current economic conditions fell to 27.7 in March from 48.4 in February.
The survey, carried out from March 25 to the end of the month, is the first government data to offer a glimpse of how the earthquake affected service sector sentiment.
The Cabinet Office said: “Japan’s economy is suddenly in a severe condition due to the effects of the earthquake.”
The outlook index, indicating the level of confidence in future conditions, was at 26.6, down from 47.2 in February.
The Cabinet Office started compiling the data in comparative form in August 2001. (Reporting by Rie Ishiguro; Editing by Michael Watson)