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JAPAN NOTES 70.3% JUMP IN IMPORT SALES

Sales of imported motor vehicles here jumped by 70.3 percent in August, the Japan Automobile Importers' Association reports.

A total of 23,391 imported cars, trucks and buses were sold last month, compared with 13,735 the previous August, the association said in a monthly report. It was the 10th consecutive increase.The figure was a record for August, but fell short of the all-time monthly record of 32,440, posted in March this year.

Yasuhiko Yokota, an association spokesman, said exporters like U.S. automakers Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp. put low-priced autos on the Japanese market in a successful strategy to expand market share.

The Japanese yen's appreciation against the dollar helped foreign makers lower their price tags in Japan, Yokota said. The dollar has fallen by about 12 percent against the yen so far this year, reducing the yen cost of some foreign goods.

U.S. automakers sold a combined total of 8,291 cars and trucks in Japan last month, up 82.3 percent from a year earlier.

The U.S. sales figure included 611 cars from General Motors Corp., down 27.3 percent from a year earlier; 903 cars from Ford, up 224.8 percent; 1,007 cars from Chrysler, up 72.4 percent; 4,245 cars from Honda USA, up 128.1 percent; and 434 cars from Toyota's U.S. operation, up 13.0 percent.