09/24/2009, 00.00
JAPAN
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Japanese exports drop by 36 per cent

World demands continue to stagnate. Exports towards the United States, China and Europe drop. The positive signs seen of the second quarter were due to the government stimulus package. Imports decline as well. For the fourth time, Japan Airlines asks the government for aid.
Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Japan’s exports fell for an 11th month in August making it harder for the economic recovery to gain traction.

Shipments abroad dropped 36 percent from a year earlier compared with a 36.5 percent decline in July, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo.

In a report, the ministry suggests the boost measured in the second quarter of this year may be moderating as governments exhaust stimulus spending.

Given low world demand, exports are recovering very slowly. Japan’s economy remains hard-pressed because the worldwide crisis has cut demand for cars and electronics.

Exports to the US are down 34.4 per cent from a year earlier, the least since November, the ministry said. Shipments to China, Japan’s biggest market, fell 27.6 per cent, and sales to Europe slid 45.9 per cent.

The yen’s 7 per cent gain over the past six months has added another obstacle for exporters.

In addition, this year imports fell 41.3 percent in August from a year earlier.

Even Japan’s main airline carrier, Japan Airlines (JAL), has had to weather turbulent time.

JAL has the heaviest debt among Asia’s carriers, and for the fourth time since 2001 has had to ask for government aid.

In June JAL posted a 99 billion yen loss (US$ 109.2 billion) in the first quarter, the most in at least six years, as business and leisure travel plummeted during the country’s worst postwar recession.

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