News Summary: Japan posts record trade deficit

News Summary: Japan posts record $78.3B trade deficit in 2012 as fuel imports jump

Associated Press
News Summary: Japan posts record trade deficit
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FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2012 file photo, liquefied petroleum gas storage tanks stand at an industrial area in Yokohama in Kanagawa prefecture, south of Tokyo. Japan's trade deficit in 2012 rose to a record 6.93 trillion yen ($78.3 billion), as fuel imports surged and a bitter territorial dispute with China hammered its exports. The provisional figures reported by the Finance Ministry on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 showed the trade deficit narrowed, however, in December, to 641.5 billion yen ($7.25 billion) from the 954.8 billion yen shortfall in November. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)

TRADE IMBALANCE: Japan's trade deficit rose to a record 6.93 trillion yen ($78.3 billion) in 2012 as fuel imports surged 34 percent and a territorial dispute with China hammered its exports. That was up from a deficit of 2.56 trillion yen in 2011.

THE CULPRITS: Energy imports surged 34 percent after Japan's nuclear plants were taken offline following the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear accident in 2011. Exports have suffered from plunging demand in crisis-stricken Europe and troubles with China after a flare-up over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea prompted anti-Japanese protests last fall.

SOME HOPE: The trade deficit for December narrowed to 641.5 billion yen ($7.25 billion) from the 954.8 billion yen shortfall in November. That was despite a 5.8 percent drop in exports for the month.

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