According to a report by the Kyodo News, preliminary Japanese trade statistics (based on customs clearance) for 2008 show that the trade balance, the difference between export and import, is at a deficit 725.3 billion yen (around 50.1 billion yuan). Issued on April 22 by Japan's Ministry of Finance, these statistics reveal Japan's first trade deficit since 1980, when the second oil crisis caused soaring imports.
Japan recorded 10.1553 trillion yen in trade surplus in 2007. The occurrence of the first ever trade deficit for the past 28 years is mainly due to the fact that the worldwide financial crisis has spread to the real economy, leading to a sharp fall in Japanese exports. This shows the vulnerability of the Japanese economy whose development has always depended on external demand.
Japanese export volume totaled 71.1435 trillion yen in 2008, down 16.4 percent year-on-year, the highest decline since 1980 when comparable data was available. In terms of specific goods, automobiles and electronic products took the lead in export decline, with automobile exports falling by 24.2 percent and computer chip exports dropping by 19.7 percent. Japanese import volume totaled 71.8688 trillion yen in 2008, down 4.1 percent year-on-year, the first decline for the past seven years.
The data on Japan's trade balance for this March, announced at the same time, shows 11 billion yen in trade surplus. This figure, however, had tumbled by 99.0 percent compared with the same period a year earlier.
By People's Daily Online