Japan logged a much larger than expected trade deficit in August as imports soared despite an upturn in exports, according to official data.The deficit reached 775.3 billion yen ($10 billion), the biggest-ever red-ink figure for the month, according to the finance ministry.
It reversed the year-before surplus of 63.8 billion yen and was much bigger than deficits of less than 300 billion yen projected by economists.
Exports rose 2.8 percent on August 2010 to 5.36 trillion yen on higher shipments of automobiles, machinery and ships, the first year-on-year rise in six months.
Japanese exports had tumbled after the March earthquake and tsunami damaged manufacturing facilities and disrupted supply chains, while triggering the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl at a plant on the northeast coast.
Imports jumped 19.2 percent to 6.13 trillion yen, an increase for the 20th consecutive month, due to rises in crude oil prices and higher purchases of liquefied natural gas by utilities companies.Japanese power companies have stepped up imports of fossil fuel as many nuclear reactors went offline after the disaster.