Japan incurred a much worse-than-expected trade deficit in July as exports to Europe and Asian neighbours tumbled, official data showed Wednesday.
Japan's trade balance left a shortfall of 517.4 billion yen ($6.5 billion) in July, reversing the surplus of 60.3 billion yen in June and bigger than a market forecast for a 275 billion yen deficit.
Overall exports were down 8.1 percent to 5.31 trillion yen with shipments of electronic parts falling despite increased automobile exports.
By region, exports to the European Union plunged 25.1 percent against a 10.6 percent increase in imports, leaving Japan a deficit of 95.2 billion yen with the embattled economic zone.
Exports to China fell 11.9 percent against a 3.3 percent rise in imports, making Japan's deficit with its biggest trading partner nearly double from June to 250.1 billion yen.
US-bound shipments rose 4.7 percent, and imports also climbed 7.6 percent.
Japan's overall imports rose 2.1 percent to 5.83 trillion yen on high costs for liquefied natural gas.
Japan has struggled to meet its energy needs and turned to pricey fossil fuel alternatives after its nuclear reactors were switched off in the wake of last year's atomic crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.