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Japan’s exports and imports hit record highs in value terms in the first half of fiscal 2004, spurred by brisk trade with China and other Asian economies, the Finance Ministry said Thursday.

The nation’s exports grew 12.9 percent in the April-September period from the same period last year to 30.68 trillion yen, the highest figure since data were first compiled in 1947, the ministry said in a preliminary report.

Imports rose 11 percent to a record 24.58 trillion yen as surging oil prices pushed up overall import prices, the ministry said.

The customs-cleared trade surplus climbed 21.4 percent to 6.1 trillion yen.

The nation’s exports to the rest of Asia climbed 19.8 percent to a record 15.1 trillion yen, while imports from other Asian economies expanded 12.9 percent to a record 11.14 trillion yen.

The trade surplus with Asia jumped 44.9 percent to 3.96 trillion yen, also the highest on record.

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