TOKYO – Japan posted a trade deficit of 122.98 billion yen ($1.13 billion) in September amid a sharp decline in trade with South Korea, the country’s finance ministry said Monday.
Japan’s total exports decreased 5.2 percent year-on-year to 6.37 trillion yen while imports fell 1.5 percent to 6.49 trillion yen.
In September 2018, Japan had recorded a surplus of 124.12 billion yen.
China remained Japan’s biggest trading partner in September with a trade exchange of 2.80 trillion yen and a deficit for Japan of 441.07 billion yen.
Exports to China reduced 6.7 percent with respect to September 2018 and imports declined 1 percent.
With the United States – its second-largest trading partner – Japan posted a surplus of 564.12 billion yen with a 7.9-percent and 11.6-percent decrease in exports and imports, respectively.
The data comes on the heels of a new trade deal between Japan and the US although some details still remain to be ironed out.
As in recent months, political and economic disputes between South Korea and Japan led to a sharp decline in trade between the two countries.
Although South Korea was Japan’s second-largest trading partner in Asia at the end of 2018 and the first half of this year, it has now moved to third place for the first time this year, according to the monthly data.
In September, although South Korea remained the second Asian destination for Japanese exports despite a year-on-year reduction of 15.9 percent, imports fell by 8.9 percent and, in value, were outperformed by goods from Taiwan, which increased by 9 percent.