Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa on Monday reiterated that Japan's economy is likely to return to a recovery path once supply constraints caused by last month's earthquake and tsunami ease, and as exports grow.

Japan's economy is likely to remain under strong downward pressure for the time being, mainly in production, but as supply constraints ease and output recovers, growth in exports ... is expected to help the economy return to a moderate recovery path, Shirakawa said in a speech to a meeting of the central bank's regional branch managers.

(Reporting by Rie Ishiguro; Editing by Edmund Klamann)