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The number of corporate bankruptcies with debts of more than 10 million yen each totaled 10,034 during the first half of fiscal 1998 — the April to September period — major corporate research firm Teikoku Databank said Wednesday.It was the first time in 14 years the figure has exceeded 10,000 during the April to September period, making it the second worst on record after the first fiscal half of 1984, which registered 10,332, the company’s statistics show.The total debt these companies accumulated in the first half of fiscal 1998 stands at 7.93 trillion yen, easily surpassing the previous postwar worst of 5.93 trillion yen logged in the first half of fiscal 1997, the statistics show.Of the 10,034 bankruptcies, the largest was last month’s failure of Japan Leasing Corp., an affiliate of the troubled Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, with 2.18 trillion yen in debt.Among the bankruptcies, five were major firms listed on the Tokyo or Osaka stock exchanges, including trading house Okura & Co., general constructor Asakawagumi Co. and Kyoto-based dressmaker Longchamp Co.Teikoku officials said although the government announced a 16-trillion yen economic stimulus package in April, further deterioration of the economy coupled with political turmoil following the Upper House election in July offset any possible positive effect.On an industry basis, all industries registered a double-digit increase in the number of corporate failures compared with the same period last year, Teikoku Databank’s statistics show.The construction industry was hit the hardest, with 2,828 firms going bankrupt in the first half of fiscal 1998, up 22.2 percent, according to the statistics.The entire nation recorded an increase in corporate bankruptcies, with Tohoku registering the biggest rise with a 46.8 percent increase, statistics show.Meanwhile, the corporate research firm said that bankruptcies due to the recession amounted to 7,179 between April and September, up 38.8 percent from the same period last year.As to the causes, 83.1 percent of the firms failed due to sales slumps, 6.7 percent from slumps at the industry level and 3.9 percent from mounting bad loans, the firm said.”The credit crunch of banks worsened the corporate finance situation,” the officials said. “This explains the sharp rise in the showing.”The 10,034 bankruptcies took jobs from 91,713 people — the worst ever on a half-year basis since the research firm began gathering statistics on corporate bankruptcies, the officials said.

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