Japan June exports rise 9.7 pct year/year - MOF

TOKYO, July 20 (Reuters) - Japan's exports rose 9.7 percent in June from a year earlier, marking a seventh straight month of gains, Ministry of Finance data showed on Thursday, in a sign external demand was driving an export-led economic recovery. The result compared with the median estimate of a 9.5 percent increase in a Reuters poll of economists. It followed a 14.9 percent rise in the previous month. Imports rose 15.5 percent in the year to June, versus the median estimate of a 14.6 percent gain. That resulted in a trade surplus of 439.9 billion yen ($3.9 billion), against the median forecast for a 484.7 billion yen surplus. To see the data on the MOF's website: http://www.customs.go.jp/toukei/info/indexte.htm For more background, please see this POLL ($1 = 111.8200 yen)

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chris Gallagher)