Japan booked a trade deficit for the first time in two months in July as its imports of natural gas rose, coming in 517.4 billion yen (6.53 billion dollars). Japan’s government said Wednesday that its imports grew 2.1 per cent from a year earlier to 5.83 trillion yen for the first rise in two months as imports of natural gas surged 24.2 per cent after the 50 nuclear reactors were shut down following last year’s atomic disaster. Japan’s exports fell 8.1 per cent to 5.31 trillion yen with those of semiconductor equipment declining 13.9 per cent. Japan logged, during June, trade surplus of 61.7 billion yen (788.80 million dollars), despite expectations of a deficit of $ 135 billion yen due to the 2.2 per cent decline in imports, on an annual basis, and the drop in oil prices. The imports decline is the first in two and a half years. Analysts had expected 1.2 per cent average increase. Japan logged in January its largest trade deficit of 1,481 trillion yen.