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Japan reports strong export figures

Japan's exports have risen for a second straight month in September, showing a recovery is under way from the tsunami disaster even as manufacturers face a strong yen and weak global economy.

The finance ministry said that exports rose 2.4% from a year earlier in September.

Exports had declined for five months in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated industry in north east Japan.

The ministry said the value of September exports totalled 5.98 trillion yen (£49bn), while imports came to 5.68 trillion (£46.6bn), up 12%. That gave Japan a trade surplus of 300 billion yen (£2.5bn).

The improvement in trade data comes amid growing worries about the health of the global economy as Europe struggles to resolve its chronic debt crisis and US unemployment remains high.

Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota are also being threatened by the strong yen, which can make their products more expensive in overseas markets.

The US dollar has been hovering between 76 yen and 77 yen recently - near record lows.

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