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Toyota Motor Corp. was again the highest income earner, reporting taxable income of 745.4 billion yen for the year and returning to the position it relinquished to the Bank of Japan in 1996, according to Tokyo Shoko Research.

According to the credit research firm, the number of corporations that paid more than 40 million yen in income tax in calendar 1997 totaled 85,403 — a dip of 0.4 percent from the previous year, the firm said Wednesday.

The firms’ total income also fell by 5.3 percent to 34.76 trillion yen, indicating that earnings at major companies have worsened as a result of the sluggish economy, Tokyo Shoko said.

Toyota’s introduction of new models and the yen’s depreciation against the dollar, which increased its export competitiveness, were considered to be factors behind its solid earnings.

The central bank ranked second with 607.7 billion yen in taxable income, while Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. was third with 411.3 billion yen.

The report showed that banks fared poorly during the year, with only two — the BOJ and Sumitomo Bank at 52nd place — ranked in the top 100 firms.

The write-off of nonperforming loans, in addition to the increased burden of higher deposit insurance premiums, reduced operating income at banks, according to Tokyo Shoko Research.

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