Japan exports fall amid slow recovery from pandemic downturn

Japan has reported its exports fell at a slower pace in September in a sign that trade damage from the coronavirus pandemic is easing

The nation’s imports fell 17.2% overall, compared with 20.8% in August.

Exports to China jumped 14% while shipments to the U.S. inched up 0.7%, in another possible sign of a gradual rebound. By sector, computer exports to the world surged nearly 45%.

Japan’s export-reliant economy has sunk into recession, with three straight quarters of contraction through June, as the outbreak slammed business activity and stifled trade.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who took office a month ago, left Sunday for Vietnam and Indonesia, where virus cases are relatively low, to drum up business and trade.

His predecessor, Shinzo Abe, had tried to sustain economic growth with his “Abenomics” package of programs based on zero interest rates and curtailing deflation.

Suga, also from the governing Liberal Democratic Party, is expected to continue those policies.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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