According to Anime News Network, the Tokyo International Anime Fair is reporting that 37% fewer exhibitors are renting 20% less space than they did last year. The economy isn't the issue in this case, but the law that was passed last month regarding regulations on anime and manga that expanded the scope of what could be sold to those under the age of 18.
After the law was put into place (someone can correct me on this, but I think this only affects Tokyo specifically, although it's significant because that's where most of the anime and manga are made), many exhibitors pulled out of TAF, especially after it was announced that Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, who was a major proponent of the law, is the head of the executive committee for TAF.
Some of those that have pulled out of the event have stated that they are going to hold their own expo on the same March dates as TAF. Calling it the Anime Contents Expo (ACE), those who are slated to appear include some big names including Media Factory (Soul Eater, Pokemon movies), Kadokawa Shoten (Angelic Layer, Air), and Aniplex (Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach).
One that at this point hasn't committed to either event is Comic-10 Shakai. If they don't rescind their boycott of TAF, most of the exhibitors said that they wouldn't participate in the events leading up to the fair.
It's interesting to see how this is all playing out. What I don't understand is why Ishihara is on the executive board for TAF when he has come out in the past insulting anime and manga fans. What the new law I think will do for anime coming in here in the United States is that it will be censored as badly as films were during the days of the Hays Code, and people will start seeking out older shows because of the restrictions put on filmmakers over there. It's sad to see Japan take that step backwards.