The trouble-plagued Asian economy will plunge further before it improves, Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang said in Tokyo yesterday. At an international conference on 'The Future of Asia', she remained positive about the role of Asia in the 21st century. She said it 'may well be the world's largest producer, capital lender and capital borrower, as well as the largest consumer market'. 'We all need to be realistic and face the fact that the situation for many in the region may get worse before it gets better,' Mrs Chan said. But she said the current 'painful restructuring' would boost Hong Kong's competitiveness. Mrs Chan said she had no doubt that the region 'has the wisdom and wherewithal to learn from its mistakes, and turn adversity into opportunity, as it has done in the past'. 'We need to show that the brilliant achievements of this region over the past 30 years have not been a flash in the pan of history. 'I have no doubt that we will do so.' Hong Kong and China, she said, 'served as an anchor for stability in the region'. Mrs Chan left Japan for New York last night to continue her promotional tour.