Growing imports pushed Japan's trade surplus in April down from a year ago for the 12th consecutive year-to-year decline, the Ministry of Finance announced Friday.

Japan's trade balance with the United States also decreased in April for the fourth straight month on a year-to-year basis, but was up $700 million when compared to March figures.

The ministry said Japan's global trade surplus totaled $6.746 billion in April, down from $7.535 billion in April 1987.