TOKYO -- Japan's three biggest automakers -- Toyota (IW 1000/8), Nissan IW100/26) and Honda (IW 1000/30) -- on Monday posted record sales for 2012, as the results confirmed that Toyota recaptured the world's biggest automaker crown.

The rosy results underscored the trio's recovery after Japan's quake-tsunami disaster in 2011 devastated sales and production, and highlighted strong demand in the key Asian and U.S. markets.

That helped offset weakness in debt-hit Europe and a downturn in China stemming from a diplomatic row that sparked a consumer boycott of Japanese goods in China, the world's biggest vehicle market.

On Monday, Toyota said sales last year soared 22.6% to 9.75 million vehicles, while Nissan saw a 5.8% on-year rise to 4.94 million units with record numbers in the U.S. market.

Honda, Japan's number-three automaker, logged sales of 3.81 million vehicles, up from 3.09 million a year earlier.

The latest figures confirmed that Toyota regained the global sales title which it lost in 2011 to General Motors, largely due to the natural disasters.

The crisis and flooding in Thailand -- where Japanese automakers have production plants -- during 2011 marked a "particularly harsh year," said Nomura auto analyst Masataka Kunugimoto.

"2012 is the year we saw things becoming normal again," he said.