Japan has record deficit, lowers growth estimate

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has racked up a record current account deficit in January, and is lowering its economic growth estimate for the October-December quarter.

The government said Monday the world's third-largest economy grew at an annual pace of 0.7 percent, lower than its initial real gross domestic product estimate of 1.0 percent.

Japan's current account deficit totaled 1.589 trillion yen ($15 billion), the biggest for January since comparable records began in 1985, according to the Finance Ministry.

The government has encouraged a weak yen to help exports. That makes imports more expensive. Dependence on imported oil and natural gas has risen since the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

Reactors have been shut down for safety fears. Before the disaster, nuclear energy provided 30 percent of Japan's energy needs.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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