Japan recorded a record trade deficit in January as exports suffered their steepest-ever fall due to the global economic crisis.
Exports of cars in particular plummeted as demand slumped in markets in North America, Europe and elsewhere.
Japan's trade deficit rose to 952.6 billion yen ($US9.9 billion) in January as exports plunged 45.7% from a year earlier.
The finance ministry says it was the worst month for Japanese trade since comparable records began in 1979.
Exports to the United States economy were down by nearly 53% in January while shipments to the European Union countries dropped 47%.
Exports of cars fell almost 69% by value.
The government said last week that Japan's economy was in the deepest crisis since World War II.