Concerns have been raised about the state of the Japanese economy following a decline in exports and imports during April.
The Asian nation's export total declined 10.1 per cent year over year last month, representing the fastest decline in three months. The drop was attributed to the strengthening of the yen and weak demand from China and other emerging markets.
Meanwhile, imports fell by 23 per cent compared to April 2015, a consequence of falling commodity prices and weak domestic demand. This weakness has persisted despite a large-scale asset-buying programme by the Bank of Japan over the last four years.
Additionally, Japanese manufacturing activity saw its fastest contraction since prime minister Shinzo Abe was elected in late 2012, casting doubt on the success of his flagship 'Abenomics' stimulus policy.
Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute, told Reuters: "Asia and the global economy remain weak. On top of that, yen gains squeeze profits at exporters, causing wages and capital spending to weaken, which would hamper Abenomics' aim of creating virtuous growth."