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Business confidence during the July-September period remained at or near all-time lows among big, medium-size and small firms, according to a Finance Ministry survey released Wednesday.

The business survey index for major companies stood at minus-28.3, unchanged from the April-June survey — the worst since the ministry began the survey in 1983.

BSI indexes are calculated by subtracting the percentage of firms that believe current business conditions are worsening from those that view them as improving.

The poll, similar to the Bank of Japan’s quarterly “tankan” survey, was conducted as of August 1, and 9,110 firms in nonfinancial sectors responded.

The index for medium-size firms, with capital of 100 million yen to 1 billion yen, came to minus 37.7, or 0.6 points down from the previous period.

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