Japan's economy contracted at a 1.4 percent annual pace in the last quarter as weak consumer demand and slower exports battered the recovery.

The preliminary data, which may be revised, were slightly worse than expected and were a setback from the 1.3 percent expansion in the previous quarter.

The economy shrank 0.4 percent in October-December from the previous quarter.

The report by the Cabinet office showed that for the full year, the economy eked out a 0.4 percent pace of growth in inflation-adjusted terms in 2015.