Japan logs 23rd successive month of trade deficit, as exports, imports fall in May

Japan has logged its 23rd successive month of trade deficit, as exports and imports both declined in May.

The Finance Ministry said Wednesday that the deficit in May was 909 billion yen ($8.9 billion), as exports to the U.S. fell by nearly 3 percent from a year earlier.

Japan began running deficits after its nuclear plants closed following the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant in 2011, leading to higher imports of crude oil and gas to offset the lost generation capacity. Imports of fuel and other raw materials fell 9 percent in May from a year earlier, but exports of products like cars and electronics also weakened or were flat.

The trade deficit is expected to narrow in coming months as imports fall following a tax hike in April.