Japan is facing a weakening currency that is expected to help its economy get back on track through growth in exports. Energy imports which are denominated in a stronger currency have turned the traditional surplus nation into a deficit posting importer as global outlook has hurt exporters.
The deficit hit 8.17tn yen ($83.4bn; £54.5bn) as a slump in global demand hurt exports, while greater domestic consumption of fuel boosted imports.
A weak yen, which has dipped nearly 20% against the US dollar since November, also boosted the value of the imports.
Analysts said the deficit was likely to shrink in the coming months as the weaker yen will help Japan’s exports.
The yen has dipped after policymakers introduced aggressive measures aimed at spurring a fresh wave of economic growth and stoking domestic demand.
Japan, which has traditionally been known for its exports, has seen a shift in its trade pattern in recent times.
It has seen its imports rise, driven mainly by an increased demand for fuel.
This was after most of its nuclear reactors were shut after the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 which damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and resulted in radiation leaks.
As a result, utility providers have had to turn to traditional thermal power stations to generate electricity.
These power plants need natural gas and coal to operate, resulting in a surge in imports of these commodities.
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