Japan managed to post a trade surplus in September as auto exports expanded although exports of semiconductors and electronics parts remained down, the finance ministry said Monday.
Japan's exports in the month rose 2.4 percent from a year ago to 5.98 trillion yen ($78.2 billion), the second straight monthly increase.
Meanwhile, imports soared 12.1 percent to 5.68 trillion yen, rising for 21 straight months mainly due to higher energy prices.
It left a trade surplus of 300.4 billion yen ($3.9 billion), beating market expectations for 199.5 billion yen.
But the figure was 61.2 percent lower than the level seen last year, reflecting the severe damage done by the March earthquake and tsunami, particularly to the supply chain.