Morning business round-up: Japan has record deficit

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What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

Japan has reported a record trade deficit because of rising energy imports, as the country's economic recovery remains fragile.

The shortfall was 437.3bn yen ($5.4bn; £3.4bn) in January, the ministry of finance said.

The measure is the broadest of how much Japan earns through international trade and overseas investments.

Also on Thursday, revised figures showed the economy contracted less than had been thought at the end of 2011.

Japan's Toyota has recalled 681,500 vehicles in the US, dealing a blow to its efforts to rebuild its image after a number of safety issues in recent years.

It is recalling 70,500 Camry and 116,000 Venza cars to fix silicon grease leaks that may cause starting problems.

Another 495,000 Tacoma vehicles need repairs to faulty steering wheels that may deactivate the driver's air bag.

Meanwhile, investors have until Thursday evening to sign up to a swap of bonds that is vital to keeping Greece in the euro.

Greece needs at least 75% of its bondholders to agree to take a cut in the value of their holdings by 20:00 GMT.

Greek officials said that almost 60% had signed up already and were "optimistic" the deal would be successful.

Without the deal, Greece will not receive another bailout.

Also in Europe, aerospace giant EADS has reported higher annual profits after delivering a record number of its Airbus aircraft to customers.

The firm said reported net income of 1.03bn euros ($1.36bn; £836m) for 2011, up 87% from a year earlier.

EADS delivered a record 534 commercial aircraft during the year, including 26 of its A380 superjumbo planes.

In other aerospace news, Air France-KLM made an operating loss of 353m euros (£295m) in 2011, after a profit of 28m euros in 2010.

And it said a soaring fuel bill, which rose by 16.3% to 6.4bn euros, would hit the airline's profits this year.

And continuing the transport theme, Eurostar has said that its sales increased last year as passenger numbers rose 2% to 9.7 million.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

The operator of the train service between London and continental Europe said that sales jumped 6% to £803m in 2011, from a year earlier.

Non-European Union-based international travellers, from fast-growing countries such as Brazil and China, now account for 9% of all passengers.

That was despite a 3% fall in the number of business travellers.

The latest edition of Business Daily asks whether the eurozone's woes will ever end? Arguably the bigger issue is the long term solution to Europe's problems - the presumption is that this will be achieved by what is known as "structural adjustment".

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