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Jan 24, 2012 8:10 PM by Matt Stafford

Japan announces first trade deficit since 1980

TOKYO (AP) - Japan has marked its first trade deficit since 1980, reporting a 2.49 trillion yen ($32 billion) deficit for 2011 and attributing it in part to last year's tsunami.

Government data released Wednesday said the value of Japan's exports fell 2.7 percent to 65.55 trillion yen ($843 billion) for 2011.

The drop was attributed to the economic impact of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the rise in the value of the yen against the U.S. dollar, along with a gloomier outlook in the global economy.

In December, the trade balance was a deficit of 205.1 billion yen ($5.6 billion), according to the Finance Ministry figures.

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