Page last updated at 04:46 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Japan's exports surge on growth in Asian and US markets

Tokyo docks
Japan exports to Asia rose by 55% compared with a year earlier

Japanese exports rose 45% in February compared with the same month a year ago.

Exports to Asia, which make up more than half of Japan's total exports, rose more than 55% in the same period.

Car shipments to the US more than doubled, despite huge recent recalls by Toyota due to safety problems.

Japanese imports also went up, but the trade balance had a surplus of more than $7bn (£4.6bn), which exceeded forecasts.

The BBC's Roland Buerk in Tokyo says the results highlight the importance of Asia to Japan's recovery.

However compared with January, Japan's export total in February was 1.7% lower when seasonally adjusted, raising rears the recovery could be running out of steam.

Our correspondent says that Japanese shoppers are unlikely to take up the slack if external demand falters.

Japan's exports had grown for the first time in 15 months in December, boosted by demand in Asia and China in particular.

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