Japan's exports in December grew for the first time since September 2008, up 12.1 percent to 5.4 trillion JPY (about 60 billion USD) in December the Finance Ministry said on Jan. 27.

The Ministry attributed the increase to stronger demand from China and other Asian markets.

Japan’s exports to China rose 42.8 percent to 1.079 trillion JPY as a result of sales of Japanese cars, auto parts, plastic products and organic compounds.

Meanwhile, the country’s exports to the European Union was up 1.4 percent to 641 billion JPY and its shipment to the US only reached 832.68 billion JPY, a decrease of 7.6 percent.

In 2009, China became Japan's largest export market, surpassing the US, for the first time since 1979.

However, imports in December fell 5.5 percent to 4.87 trillion JPY, leading to a trade surplus of 545.3 billion JPY./.