Japan posted a $3.53-billion trade surplus in August as its exports continued to increase and its imports kept declining, the Finance Ministry reported Tuesday.
The surplus was down from Japan’s record monthly surplus of $5.02 billion in June and from $4.6 billion in July.
However, Japan’s imports of $10.33 billion were down 15.3% from August, 1984, at a time when Japan is under pressure from its trading partners to buy more foreign goods to help cut the continued trade surpluses. Exports grew by 4.1% from a year ago to $13.86 billion.
For the first eight months of the year, Japan’s surplus amounted to $25.8 billion, compared to $17.8 billion for January to August, 1984. The surplus for all of last year amounted to $33.6 billion.
Under pressure from the United States, the Japanese government is working out a series of measures to expand domestic demand, increase imports and bring trade closer to a balance. This follows a recently announced “action program” aimed at opening Japan’s markets to foreign products.
Meanwhile, the Kyodo News Service said that Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone had summoned senior officials of the government and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party to start a series of meetings on how to improve rapidly deteriorating trade relations with the United States.
“Japanese-U.S. ties are in a crisis situation,” Susumu Nikaido, party vice president, told Japanese reporters.
In August, Japan’s exports to the United States rose 6% from August, 1984, to $5.14 billion, while imports from America fell 13.4% to $2.09 billion, leaving a U.S. deficit of $3.05 billion, down from the monthly record of $3.7 billion in July.
Car exports climbed 22% from a year ago to $1.13 billion, continuing a trend that began in April with the easing of restrictions on Japanese car shipments to the U.S. market.
Exports of semiconductors, one source of trade friction with the United States, dropped 48.4% from August, 1984, to $92.91 million.
Imports of U.S. aircraft totaled $77.57 million in August, up 277% from a year ago.
In trade with the European Economic Community, Japanese exports rose 5.3% in August to $1.58 billion, while imports declined 0.8% to $812.25 million, leaving a Japanese surplus of $767.8 million, down from $879.2 million in July.
Japan showed a $1.14-billion deficit in trade with the Middle East. Although imports declined 29.6%, they still amounted to $2.1 billion because of large oil purchases.
Japan ran a $509.64-million trade surplus with China, down from $648.4 million in July. Exports to China rose 85.9% to $1.06 billion, while imports declined 5.7% to $552 million.