Japan Reports Record Trade Deficit in 2013

Weakening yen and atomic power shutdown seen as major causes

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Yuya Shino / Reuters

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe scratches his face as he sit with Japan's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso at the lower house of the parliament in Tokyo January 24, 2014.

Japan logged a record $112.07 billion trade deficit in 2013, up 65.3 percent from the previous record, set in 2012.

A weakening yen, caused in part because of the Bank of Japan’s pledge to keep inflation below 2 percent, led to increased exports for the first time in three years, but these failed to outweigh mounting costs of imports, the Foreign Ministry said in its preliminary report on Monday.

Increased energy demands, following the cessation of atomic power generation in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, was noted as a major factor in driving up imports, which jumped 15 percent compared to the year before.

[Japan Times]