TOKYO - For the first time this decade, Japanese carmakers bought fewer imported U.S. parts for use in their Japan factories.
U.S. parts purchased for use in their North American factories rose, however, at the fastest pace in four years.
Parts purchases from European suppliers also climbed.
The figures, for the fiscal year that ended March 31, come from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
JAMA members and their U.S. affiliates bought $28.3 billion in U.S. parts for four-wheel vehicles in the latest fiscal year, up 13.5 percent from a year earlier.
However, parts imported from the United States for use in Japan totaled only $3.7 billion, down 5.3 percent from a year earlier.
This was the first decline since JAMA began tracking purchases of U.S. parts in the year to March 31, 1991.
Last year's drop coincided with a 7.5 percent fall in Japanese vehicle production in the latest fiscal year.
U.S. parts bought for use in Japanese-owned factories in North America rose 17 percent to $24.6 billion. The rise was higher than gains that ranged from 6.2 percent to 10.3 percent in the three prior years.
Among individual makers, Toyota Motor Corp.'s purchases of U.S. parts for use in its North American factories jumped 30.5 percent to $8.65 billion. That carried its total U.S. parts buying above $10 billion for the first time ever, to $10.4 billion.
Meanwhile, Japanese carmakers bought $6.6 billion worth of parts from the European Union, up 14.2 percent the previous year.
Parts imported into Japan totaled $924.7 million, up 10.9 percent, a healthy gain considering the drop in Japan's vehicle output.
European Union parts purchased for use in Japanese-owned factories in Europe rose 14.8 percent to $5.7 billion.