Japanese trade officials fear quake impact on Mena imports

Latest: Expectations of a rise in Japanese exports to the Middle East this year are in doubt after the disaster in the country.

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Japanese trade officials in the region are worried their nation's disaster will hit the country's exports to the Middle East this year.

But they say its too early to say how many fewer cars and electronic goods will be shipped because of interruptions to industrial output in the country.

"We were expecting better trade results for this year but now I'm not so sure that will be the case," said Hiroki Matsumoto, managing director of Japan External Trade Organisation in the Mena region.

The disaster is the second disruption to the country's regional trade this year. Unrest in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and other economies is also expected to impact exports this year.

Japan is the world's fourth largest exporter and relies heavily on trade revenues to drive its economy.

Middle East consumers are big buyers of Japanese cars like Toyota, Nissan and Honda. Japan was the top exporter of used cars to Dubai in 2009.

Regional demand is also high for TVs, computers and other electronics goods made by companies such as Sony and Toshiba.