Not since the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 have Japanese exports declined so sharply as this past September, figures from the Ministry of Finance confirm. Overseas shipments from Japan have fallen 10.3 percent year-on-year.

The drop in exports is being attributed to the difficult diplomatic relations between China and Japan following a tense stand-off over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. The dispute was intensified by ongoing protests in China throughout the month over Japan’s purchase of the disputed islands from their private owner.  Taiwan also lays claim to the little uninhabited islets.

According to the figures, exports of products that are clearly Japanese, like cars- down 14 percent from August- far outstripped that of not clearly Japanese products, like car parts- up seven percent. Japanese brands have seen their stocks plummet as a result, like cosmetics manufacturer Sheseido, down 11 percent and All-Nippon Airways, down 13 percent.

The weak demands for exports has exacerbated concerns over the resilience of the Japanese economy as a whole, as the slow in demand from key markets, like China and Europe, and a strong yen have been burdening the exports and manufacturing markets.

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