TOKYO, July 25, (APP/AFP) - Japan posted its first half-year trade surplus since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, after the accident sent the country's energy import bills soaring, data showed Monday. The world's third largest economy logged a January-June surplus of 1.8 trillion Yen ($17.06 billion), against a 1.69 trillion yen deficit in the same period last year, the finance ministry said. A sharp drop in oil and gas prices took pressure off Japan's trade balance, but exports still struggled to make headway with a sharp rise in the yen weighing on profits among some of Japanese biggest firms.
The six-month surplus was the first since the July-December 2010 period, the ministry data showed. The Japanese economy, which was already struggling at that time, was hammered by the quake-tsunami disaster that sparked the accident at Fukushima. The nuclear accident, the worst since Chernobyl in 1986, forced the shutdown of atomic reactors in resource-poor Japan, which turned to thermal power plants and pricey fossil fuel imports to keep the lights on.