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Japan reports record $78.3B trade deficit in 2012

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 23, 2013 at 9:33 pm •  Published: January 23, 2013

Abe has focused his stimulus program on boosting manufacturing competitiveness while spurring domestic demand through a sharp increase in government spending on public works. Ample capital circulating due to monetary easing in most major economies has helped drive a rally in Japan's stock market, but making real structural changes in the economy after two decades of stagnation will take time.

The tensions with Beijing remain a potential pitfall for the recovery, despite Japan's efforts to shift more of its trade and offshore manufacturing into Southeast Asia and India.

Japan's exports to China sank 10.8 percent last year, to 11.5 trillion yen ($130 billion) while imports rose 2.7 percent to 15.03 trillion yen ($170 billion), leaving a deficit of 3.52 trillion yen ($39.8 billion).

Exports to the European Union fell by nearly 15 percent, producing a deficit of 139.7 billion yen ($1.6 billion).

But trade with North America, mainly the U.S., rebounded, with exports climbing 12 percent and imports about 2 percent, for a surplus of 4.9 trillion yen ($55.4 billion).