Japan's trade deficit widened in September as exports plunged 10.3 per cent from a year earlier, weighed down by Europe's debt crisis and a surge in antagonisms with China that have damaged close economic ties. The deficit for the month was 558.6 billion yen (USD7.2 billion) higher than the forecasts of many analysts and bigger than a deficit of about USD3.7 billion a year earlier. The deficit in August was USD9.6 billion. A territorial dispute with China that sparked anti-Japanese riots in September took a heavy toll, with exports to China sinking 14 per cent from a year earlier to 953.4 billion yen (USD12.2 billion). Imports from China climbed 3.8 per cent to 1.28 trillion yen (USD16.4 billion). The rise in antagonisms over disputed islands in the East China Sea has been especially hard on the auto industry. Auto exports fell 15 per cent in September from the year before.