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Japan’s customs-cleared trade surplus for the first half of 1997 rose for the first time on a half-year basis since January-June 1993, according to provisional figures released July 17 by the Finance Ministry.

The figure was up 28.4 percent from the same period last year, hitting 3.982 trillion yen, and was mainly attributed to the sharp rise during the April-June quarter, which saw a 94.3 percent increase from the same period the year before. The politically sensitive surplus with the United States rose 48 percent for the January-June period.

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