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Japan’s trade surplus in May came to ¥299.84 billion, its highest level in a year, as the pace of decline in exports slowed and imports fell sharply, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.

It was the fourth straight monthly surplus, following a record deficit in January when the deepening impact of the global crisis sapped demand for exports. The size of the surplus was down 12.1 percent from a year earlier, the ministry said in a preliminary report.

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