The annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank began today in Tokyo amid grim growth outlook dragged by the global downturn.

The IMF downgraded the global economy’s growth forecasts projected in July for 2012 and 2013, from 3.5% to 3.3% and from 3.9% to 3.6% respectively, according to the World Economic Outlook report released to coincide with the meeting. The World Bank has also slashed East Asia and the Pacific’s growth outlook to 7.2%, hampered by China’s slowing economy.

Members of the IMF will likely focus on the sovereign debt and banking crisis in Europe. The Group of Seven industrialized nations – comprised of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – will gather on Thursday to discuss the measures taken by the EU to contain the debt crisis. The G-7 plus Russia, or the G-8, will tackle how to support the Arab Spring democratization movement.

Myanmar is expected to take center stage in the meeting as Japan seeks a debt relief program for the southeast Asian country. This comes as the World Bank and Asia Development Bank are considering the resumption of loans to support democratic reforms in the country.

Around 20,000 government and private-sector officials and central bankers are expected to participate in the week-long event in Tokyo, The Nikkei reports. Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua reported that four state-owned banks – the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Bank of China, China Construction Bank and the Agriculture Bank of China – decided to sit out the meetings in Japan, underlining the deteriorating relations between the two countries.