Japan's exports rose 5.1 percent in April from a year earlier, above analyst forecasts in a Reuters poll for a 4.8 percent rise, data on Wednesday showed.
Imports rose an annual 3.4 percent versus forecasts for a 0.8 percent rise, while the trade balance stood at a deficit of 808.9 billion yen ($7.98 billion), much larger than expectations for a 646 billion yen deficit.
Japan's trade balance has been in a deficit for 22 months in a row now.
"The data was not really a surprise at all. They [Japan's policy makers] were hoping for a lower yen to stimulate exports and a lower yen just isn't coming," said Boris Schlossberg, managing director at BK Asset Management.