TOKYO: Japan's exports in April dropped at their fastest pace in over 10 years as the coronavirus pandemic hit the global economy, the Finance Ministry said Thursday.
Exports plunged 21.9 percent from a year before to 5,202.3 billion yen, preliminary data showed, marking the steepest fall since the 23.2 percent drop marked in October 2009.
Japan saw its exports to the United States tumble 37.8 percent to 879.8 billion yen, the biggest drop since the 39.5 percent decline in July 2009.
European Union-bound exports slumped 28.0 percent, and those to China fell 4.1 percent. Total exports declined for 17 months in a row.
By item, shipments of automobiles and engines were particularly sluggish.
Japan's imports dropped 7.2 percent to 6,132.7 billion yen, leaving the country with a trade deficit of 930.4 billion yen, the first red ink in three months.
Crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia and coal imports from Australia decreased.
Imports from China grew 11.7 percent, the first increase in nine months. Textile imports from the country, including face masks, more than tripled.
The pandemic "may continue to have an impact" on Japan's trade as it has yet to be brought under control this month, a ministry official said.