Japan logged a trade deficit in 2015 for the fifth straight year, but its value shrank 77.9 percent from 2014 to ¥2.83 trillion ($23.9 billion), due mainly to a sharp drop in imports amid lower crude oil prices, the government said Monday.

The value of exports rose 3.5 percent to ¥75.63 trillion, due partly to increased automobile exports to the U.S., while imports fell 8.7 percent to ¥78.46 trillion, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.

The deficit saw the first decline since the massive March 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Tohoku region. In 2014, the deficit totaled ¥12.82 trillion, a record high since comparable data became available in 1979.