Japanese exports rose for a 14th-straight month in January thanks to strong growth in the shipment of goods to Asia and Europe, data from Japan's Ministry of Finance showed on Monday.
Meanwhile, an increase in imports showed that domestic demand in Japan was picking up momentum.
Exports rose by 12.2% in January over the same month in 2016, beating December's 9.3% gain, and the 10.3% increase expected by analysts.
Shipments to Asia increased 16%, with a robust 30.8% gain in exports to China, led by computer chip-making equipment, hybrid vehicles and car parts.
Exports to Western Europe grew by 20.8%, with a 35% increase in goods sent to the UK and 21% rise in shipments to Germany.
Imports also rose, up 7.9% over the January 2016 period, down from 14.9% in December and less than the 8.3% forecast by analysts.
The data showed that growth in incoming goods was led by an 18.9% rise in shipment from Western Europe.
"An increase in imports shows that domestic demand is healthy," said Yuichi Kodama, chief economist at Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance, reported by Bloomberg news.
The trade data resulted in a January deficit of Y943.4bn ($8.9bn), down 13.6% from January 2016.
"We should focus more on export trends rather than the trade balance to get an idea of economic growth, and in that sense Japan’s doing well," said Kodama.
"Exports are growing both in price and volume, so we can say that we’re seeing strong results."
The yen was down against most of its rivals on Monday, but Tokyo stocks reacted well to the news. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Average rose 1.94% to 22,142.