Japan's trade deficit narrowed to ¥800.3B ($7.9B) in February from a record ¥2.79T in January but exceeded consensus of ¥590B.
Exports rose 9.9% on year after climbing 9.5%, although the growth missed expectations of 12.4%.
Import growth slowed to 9% from 25% but topped forecasts of 7.4%.
The figures have been affected by China's Lunar New Year, which would have hit exports, and by a rush to purchase foreign-made goods before a sales-tax increase in April.
Japan has now experienced a record 20 consecutive trade deficits, and while the figure may have peaked, few economists expect Japan to turn a surplus any time soon.
The Nikkei is +0.4%, while the USD-JPY is +0.1% at ¥101.52. (PR)