Japan on Thursday posted its 24th straight month of trade deficits, as imports continued to increase and exports unexpectedly fell.
The trade gap reached a record $75 billion for the first half of the year, suggesting efforts to boost exports by weakening the currency are not working.
Exports have also struggled since many Japanese companies have shifted their production overseas, where costs are lower.
Worsening the trade deficit, Japan has had to rely on costly energy imports following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The disaster forced all of Japan's 48 nuclear power plants offline for inspections. The government hopes to begin re-opening some of the plants later this year.
Before the incident, nuclear energy provided a quarter of the energy needs for the resource-starved nation.