Japan has posted a record high trade deficit for 2012, as exports to Europe and China continued their plunge.
The trade gap rose to 6.9tn yen ($78bn; £49bn) for the full year, the ministry of finance said.
It comes after election promises by Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to boost the economy, and recent monetary stimulus by the central bank.
Analysts said the deficit may have bottomed out, as exports are expected to improve in coming months.
“As exports pick up due to gradual recovery in the global economy, Japan’s trade deficit is likely to shrink in the coming months,” said Tatsushi Shikano, from Mitusbishi UFJ Morgan in Tokyo.
“Although it is unlikely to swing to a surplus this year as the export recovery will be modest and imports are likely to remain high due to elevated oil import costs.”