(Corrects month to May, not March, in third paragraph)
TOKYO, June 16 (Reuters) - Japan's exports rose 15.8% in May from a year earlier, Ministry of Finance (MOF) data showed on Thursday.
That compared to a 16.4% increase expected by economists in a Reuters poll.
May imports surged 48.9% year-on-year, versus the median estimate for a 43.6% increase.
The trade balance came to a deficit of 2.385 trillion yen ($17.78 billion), versus a median estimate of 2.023 trillion yen.
To view full tables, go to the MOF website at: http://www.customs.go.jp/toukei/info/index_e.htm ($1 = 134.1400 yen) (Reporting by Daniel Leussink Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)