Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 231.2 billion yen in July, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday.
That was shy of expectations for a shortfall of 41.2 billion yen following the downwardly revised 720.8 billion yen surplus in June (originally 721.4 billion yen).
Exports were up 3.9 percent on year to 6.747 trillion yen, missing expectations for a gain of 6.3 percent and down from 6.7 percent in the previous month.
Exports to all of Asia climbed 8.0 percent on year to 3.774 trillion yen, while exports to China alone jumped 11.9 percent to 1.355 trillion yen.
Exports to the United States fell 5.2 percent to 1.250 trillion yen, while exports to the European Union advanced 6.4 percent to 766.848 billion yen.
Imports surged an annual 14.6 percent to 6.978 trillion yen versus forecasts for 14.2 percent following the upwardly revised 2.6 percent gain a month earlier (originally 2.5 percent).
Imports from Asia added 6.9 percent on year to 3.241 trillion yen, while imports from China advanced 6.7 percent to 1.567 trillion yen,
Imports from the United States climbed 11.0 percent to 747.932 billion yen, while imports from the European Union skyrocketed 29.1 percent to 889.624 billion yen.
The adjusted trade deficit was 45.6 billion yen, missing forecasts for 20.7 billion yen and down sharply from the 683.1 billion yen surplus a month earlier.