© Provided by Associated PressCars are parked to be exported at Yokohama port, near Tokyo on Sept. 29, 2020. The drop in Japanese exports diminished last month, according to government data released Monday, Oct. 10, 2020, underlining how the blunt of the trade damage from the coronavirus pandemic may be gradually easing. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
TOKYO (AP) - Japan's exports fell at a slower pace in September in a sign that trade damage from the coronavirus pandemic is easing, according to Finance Ministry data released Monday.
The report showed Japan's exports in September declined 4.9% from the same month a year earlier, better than the nearly 15% drop in August.
The nation's imports fell 17.2% overall, compared with 20.8% in August.
Exports to China jumped 14% while shipments to the U.S. inched up 0.7%, in another possible sign of a gradual rebound. By sector, computer exports to the world surged nearly 45%.
Japan's export-reliant economy has sunk into recession, with three straight quarters of contraction through June, as the outbreak slammed business activity and stifled trade.
But a recovery in China, where COVID-19 emerged late last year, and recoveries in some other Asian countries are helping Japan regain momentum.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who took office a month ago, left Monday for Vietnam and Indonesia, where virus cases are relatively low, to drum up business and trade.
His predecessor, Shinzo Abe, had tried to sustain economic growth with his "Abenomics" package of programs based on zero interest rates and curtailing deflation.
Suga, also from the governing Liberal Democratic Party, is expected to continue those policies.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama