The country's trade gap stood at 641.5 billion yen ($7.25 billion) after a 953.4 billion yen ($11.31 billion) deficit in November of 2012. Exports fell 5.8 percent from a year earlier in December to 5.3 trillion yen. It was the seventh straight month of yearly declines in exports, and followed a 4.1 percent year-on-year fall in November. Imports increased by 1.9 percent year-on-year to 5.94 trillion yen.
For 2012, Japan recorded a trade deficit of 6.927 trillion yen ($78.24 billion) as energy imports soared and the sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone and political tension with China hurt exports. Japanese exports to China, the nation's largest trading partner, fell 15.8 percent in 2012.