Data published overnight in Japan showed that imports into Japan in January fell by 0.6 per cent, while exports slumped by 8.4 per cent; this compares to an increase of 8.2 per cent in November. The trade balance stood at a deficit of 1.415 billion yen, one of the worst on record; for a country that became famous for its exporting prowess, the change is significant. Post WWII the trade balance held roughly at zero until the 1970s. A strong surplus in the trade of goods was maintained between 1980 and 2008, when the great financial crisis saw them plummet through to 2014 when it saw a record deficit of 2.795 billion yen. Recovering to a shrivelled surplus in 2015, things took a turn for the worse since July last year.
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