(AP) Japan's trade deficit swelled to a larger-than-forecast 960.3 billion yen ($9.8 billion) in August, as imports outpaced the growth in exports.
Boosted by higher fuel costs, imports rose 16 percent from a year earlier to 6.74 trillion yen ($68.7 billion) while exports climbed 14.7 percent to 5.78 trillion yen ($58.9 billion). The deficit was a quarter bigger than the 768.4 billion yen gap seen in August 2012.
Japan's trade accounts fell into deficit as costs for importing crude oil and natural gas soared following the closure of nuclear plants after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami on its northeastern coast led to meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.
Ultra-easy monetary policy has weakened the yen, boosting exports, but the increase has not been enough to offset surging import costs.