Japan had a merchandise trade deficit of 123.0 billion yen in September, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday.
That missed expectations for a surplus of 54.0 billion yen following the 143.5 billion yen shortfall in August.
Exports were down 5.2 percent on year, shy of forecasts for a drop of 3.6 percent following the 8.2 percent slide in the previous month.
Imports fell an annual 1.5 percent versus expectations for a decline of 2.8 percent after tumbling 11.9 percent a month earlier.
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