Japan exports drop 12.5 pct in April after tsunami

Japan's exports in April fell 12.5 percent from a year earlier as production tumbled after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the government said Wednesday.

Exports declined to 5.16 trillion yen ($62.8 billion) last month. Imports in April rose 8.9 percent year-on-year to 5.62 trillion yen.

Japan's exports to the United States dropped 23.3 percent, and Asia-bound shipments declined 6.6 percent in April. Japan's exports to China also fell 6.8 percent, marking the first year-on-year decline in 18 months, the ministry said.

The earthquake and tsunami left more than 24,000 people dead or missing and destroyed hundreds of factories in the northeast coastal region, forcing manufacturers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Corp. to suspend production.

A tumble in output caused a drop in exports in March and April.