TOKYO, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) — Japan's exports dropped 6.9 percent in September from a year earlier, marking the 12th straight month of decline, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report Monday.

The latest retreat of the nation's exports came on the heels of a 9.6 percent slump logged a month earlier, the ministry said, as oversees demand remains sluggish.

Imports, meanwhile, declined 16.3 percent in the recording month, the ministry said.

Japan's trade surplus stood at 498.3 billion yen (4.79 billion U.S. dollars) in September, the government's data showed.