The trade deficit narrowed in April as exports grew faster than imports following an increase in the sales tax that is expected to dampen demand for some time.
The ¥808.9 billion deficit in April, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the Ministry of Finance, compared with a gap of ¥877.4 billion a year earlier.
Exports climbed 5.1 percent from April 2013 to ¥6.07 trillion while imports rose 3.4 percent to ¥6.88 trillion.
A moderation in costs for imports of oil and gas that account for about a third of imports reflected a strengthening of the yen and decreases in shipments of some fuels.
Exports of machinery and transport equipment rose as recoveries gained momentum in overseas markets.