The number of corporate bankruptcies in Japan rose 6.9% in the April-September period from a year earlier to 3,141 for the first increase in three years, according to a survey by a credit research company.

The rise was attributable to difficulties that companies experienced in repaying financial aid they had received from the government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tokyo Shoko Research said.

A Tokyo Shoko Research official said the company is also seeing rising cases since August of bankruptcies stemming from high raw material prices sparked by the weakening of the yen against the U.S dollar and other major currencies.

The total liabilities left by bankrupt companies surged three times to ¥1.74 trillion ($11,7 billion) in the six-month period, buoyed by Marelli Holdings, a major auto parts maker that filed for protection with a court in June under Japan’s civil rehabilitation law.

By industry, the transport sector posted 162 bankrupt cases, up 42.1% for the first increase in three years, propelled by high fuel prices.

In contrast, the real estate sector logged 104 cases, down 5.4% and marking the smallest number in 30 years.

By prefecture, 29, including Hokkaido and Kyoto, saw the number of bankruptcies increase, while 16, including Osaka and Hiroshima, saw the number decrease.

The number in two other prefectures, Shizuoka and Nagasaki, remained flat.

In September alone, the number of bankruptcies in the country was up 18.6% from a year earlier to 599, according to the research firm.

The total amount in liabilities were ¥144.87 billion.

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