Exports decreased 10.3 percent in May from a year earlier, from April's 12.4 percent drop. The nation posted a trade deficit of 853.7 billion yen ($10.7 billion) in May.
Shortages of power and parts have disrupted production and slowed overseas sales, prompting Japanese companies including Honda Motor Co. to forecast weaker earnings. Higher unemployment in the U.S. and signs of a deceleration in other overseas economies indicate Japan won't be able to rely on global demand to pull itself out of a slump caused by the quake.
An increase in energy prices pushed up the import bills. Crude oil prices have gained more than 20 percent in the past year and Japan gets virtually all of its oil from abroad.