TOKYO (AP) — Japan's exports rose for a second straight month in September, showing a recovery is underway from the tsunami disaster even as manufacturers face a strong yen and weak global economy.
The Finance Ministry said Monday that exports rose 2.4 percent from a year earlier in September. Exports had declined for five months in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated industry in northeast Japan.
The ministry said the value of September exports totaled 5.98 trillion yen ($78.2 billion), while imports came to 5.68 trillion ($74 billion), up 12 percent. That gave Japan a trade surplus of 300 billion yen ($4 billion).
The improvement in trade data comes amid growing worries about the health of the global economy as Europe struggles to resolve its chronic debt crisis and U.S. unemployment remains high.
Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota Motor Corp. are also being threatened by the strong yen, which can make their products more expensive in overseas markets.
The dollar has been hovering between 76 yen and 77 yen recently — near record lows.
Exports to China, Japan's biggest overseas market, rose by 2.7 percent to 1.11 trillion yen ($14.5 billion).
Exports to the United States were nearly flat at 924.8 billion yen ($12.1 billion), an increase of 0.4 percent, while imports from the U.S. grew 1.8 percent to 485.4 billion yen ($6.4 billion).