Japan posted a record 13.75 trillion yen (about 134.24 billion U.S. dollars) trade deficit in fiscal year 2013 ended in March, Japan's Finance Ministry said Monday.
The figure was up 68.5 percent from a year earlier and was the first time that the country's trade balance was in red for a third year in a row since comparable data became available in fiscal 1979, said the ministry in a preliminary report.
Exports increased 10.8 percent from the previous year to 70.86 trillion yen and imports jumped 17.3 percent to 84.61 trillion yen, said the ministry.
In March alone, the country's trade balance stood at a red- inked 1.45 trillion yen, marking the 21st straight month of deficit.
The Japanese yen dropped versus the U.S. dollar by 21.1 percent on year to 99.97 yen on an average basis. A weaker yen usually supports exports by making Japanese products cheaper abroad and boosts the value of overseas revenues in yen terms.
Energy imports contributed to Japan's record trade deficit as it depends on imports for more than 90 percent of its energy needs. Japan has shut down almost of its nuclear power reactors since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crisis in March 11, 2011.
In the reported fiscal year, Japan logged record trade deficit with China at 5.57 trillion yen as exports to China climbed 14.6 percent to 13.01 trillion yen, while imports from China were up 21. 0 percent to a record 18.58 trillion yen.
Exports to the United States increased 15.9 percent to 13.21 trillion yen, and imports rose 16.8 percent to 7.14 trillion yen, with a trade surplus of 6.07 trillion yen in favor of Japan.
Shipments to the European Union grew 13.2 percent to 7.24 trillion yen, and imports gained 16.7 percent to 7.96 trillion yen.