Japan unexpectedly posted a ¥23.9 billion surplus in February after four months in the red. In March 2011, the country recorded a ¥170.9 billion surplus.
Japan's exports rose in March, boosted by a surge in shipments of cars as the sector continues to recover from last year's natural disasters.
Car exports rose 33.6% from a year earlier, with overall exports up by 5.9%, latest trade data showed.
The currency fell more than 8% against the US dollar between February and March this year, making Japanese goods more affordable to foreign buyers.
Japanese imports rose by 10.5% in March, resulting in a trade deficit of 82.6bn yen ($1bn; £632m) during the month.
The jump was driven largely by a 21.8% increase in imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).