Japan has posted its first annual trade deficit in more than 30 years.
Figures released by the country's finance ministry show imports in 2011 rose 12% on the 2010 figure while exports fell 2.7%.
The decline in exports was attributed to the impact of the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.
The BBC says the deficit underscores the pressure Japanese exporters have come under since the disaster.
Factories were damaged and supply chains disrupted for major exporters like Toyota and Sony.
Exporters were further hit when their facilities in Thailand were flooded.
The rising value of the yen has also made Japanese exports less attractive.