The February result was much smaller than Japan's ¥637.0 billion trade surplus in the same month a year earlier, but indicates some improvement in the country's trade performance from January, when it registered a record ¥1.477 trillion deficit.
Exports fell 2.7% from a year earlier to ¥5.441 trillion in February on weaker demand for products such as steel and plastic, the data showed. The figure marked the fifth-straight month of contraction in exports, but was better than economists' expectations for a fall of 7.3%.
Imports increased 9.2% to ¥5.408 trillion in the month on strong demand for crude oil, liquid natural gas, according to the data. The result marked the 26th-consecutive monthly gain in imports, and compared with economists' forecasts for 8.3% growth.