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Japan Logs Trade Deficit of ¥9.29 Tril. in 2023

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Finance Ministry’s headquarters building in Tokyo.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s customs-cleared trade deficit halved from the previous year to ¥9.29 trillion in 2023 after lower resources prices pushed down the value of imports, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report Wednesday.

Japan logged a trade deficit for the third straight year. The 2023 deficit was down sharply from a deficit of ¥20.3 trillion in 2022.

Last year’s imports dropped 7.0% to ¥110.18 trillion, with those of crude oil, coal and liquefied natural gas falling 16.1%, 24.7% and 22.6%, respectively.

In contrast, exports expanded 2.8% to ¥100.9 trillion, the highest since comparable data became available in 1979 and topping ¥100 trillion for the first time. Automobile exports grew 32.7% thanks to an improved supply of semiconductors.

In trade with the United States, Japan’s surplus stood at ¥9 trillion, with exports rising 11.0% to a record ¥20 trillion led by the automobile sector.

The trade deficit with mainland China expanded for the second straight year to reach ¥6.7 trillion as exports fell 6.5% reflecting a slowdown of the Chinese economy.

China-bound exports of steel slipped 24.9%, while those of foodstuffs declined 21.1%, partly due to China’s blanket import ban on Japanese fishery products.