TOKYO (AP) - Japan's trade deficit ballooned to a record 12.8 trillion yen ($109 billion) last year as a weakening yen pushed the cost of imports higher despite a moderate recovery in exports.

TOKYO (AP) Japan's trade deficit ballooned to a record 12.8 trillion yen ($109 billion) last year as a weakening yen pushed the cost of imports higher despite a moderate recovery in exports.

Preliminary data from the Finance Ministry released Monday showed Japan's exports rose 4.8 percent to 73.1 trillion yen ($620 billion) in 2014 while imports climbed 5.7 percent to 85.9 trillion yen ($763.7 billion).

The data show exports rising nearly twice as fast in the latter half of the year than in the first half, while the increase in imports fell sharply, suggesting the deficit will narrow in coming months.

The Japanese yen has weakened over the past year to about 117 yen to the dollar compared with about 100 yen in early 2014.