Japan's yen has strengthened by about nine per cent against the US dollar from this time last year [EPA]

Japan's grew by 14.4 per cent in September from a year earlier to $72bn, the government said.

It was the 10th consecutive monthly increase, but the slowest pace of growth in 2010 due to a strong yen and reduced foreign demand amid concern over the recovery of the global economy, according to the figures released by the ministry of finance on Monday.

A strong yen cuts the value of repatriated profits for Japanese exporters like Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Corp., and makes their products less competitive abroad.

The ministry said the yen had strengthened about nine per cent against the dollar from the same period last year.

"Japan's exports will likely hit bottom during October-December and January-March, and they are expected to pick up along with the global economic recovery, helped especially by demand from Asia," Yoshimasa Maruyama, an economist at Itochu Corp, told the Reuters news agency.

"The global economic slowdown and a strong yen indeed have had a negative impact on the economy but the data supports the view that the recovery trend has not disappeared."

The most significant export increases in September came in automobiles, marine vessels and steel products.

Exports to China, Japan's biggest trading partner, increased 10.3 percent in September from a year earlier, the ministry said. US-bound shipments grew 10.4 per cent, while those to the European Union rose 11.2 per cent in the month. Japan's exports to Asia as a whole increased 14.3 per cent

Japan's trade surplus also expanded 54 per cent in September from a year earlier to $9.8bn. The September surplus was higher than the market expectation of $8.78bn, according to Dow Jones Newswires.  

Source: Agencies