SMALLER DEFICIT: Japan's trade deficit was a smaller-than-expected 180.8 billion yen ($1.8 billion) in June as the weaker yen boosted exports. That was down from May, but still more than triple the June 2012 deficit, largely because of higher fuel costs.

SMALLER DEFICIT: Japan's trade deficit was a smaller-than-expected 180.8 billion yen ($1.8 billion) in June as the weaker yen boosted exports. That was down from May, but still more than triple the June 2012 deficit, largely because of higher fuel costs.

WEAKER YEN: A weakening in the Japanese currency has helped export manufacturing, especially machinery and autos, and shipments have climbed at double-digit rates from a year ago.

PACIFIC BLOC: Trade with China has suffered due to tensions over conflicting claims to islands in the East China Sea. That tension is one reason Japan became the 12th nation to join U.S.-led trade initiative for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which could become a region-wide trade bloc.