TOKYO, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Japan's exports rose in May from a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a preliminary report on Thursday.
The 32.1 percent increase in the recording month marks the sixth successive month of increase, the ministry said.
Economists said growing demand for Japanese goods from other Asian countries has boosted industrial output as the nation stages an export-led economic recovery.
Exports to Asia, which account for more than half of Japan's total exports, rose 34.4 percent from a year earlier, while shipments to the European Union increased 17.4 percent, according to the MOF.
China, however, remained Japan's top export market, rising 25.3 percent on year in the recording month, with a trade deficit of 58. 3 billion yen (649.05 million U.S. dollars) for the month.
The ministry said that exports to the U.S. rose 17.7 percent with Japan's surplus with the world's largest economy standing at 239.2 billion yen (2.66 billion U.S. dollars).
Although the increase of exports on year in May was below economists' median forecast for a 36.9 percent rise, imports were up 33.4 percent leading to a 324.2 billion yen (3.6 billion U.S. dollar) trade surplus, up 15.2 percent from a year earlier, the report said.