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Katsuyuki Sugita, the chairman of the Japanese Bankers Association, said Tuesday the nation’s major banks have taken enough measures to dispose of their bad loans.

The nation’s 17 major banks, which released their fiscal 1998 results between Thursday and Tuesday, all reported pretax losses.

“I understand the losses were due to the fact that all of the banks took drastic steps to write off or set aside loan-loss reserves for their bad loans,” Sugita said. “The nonperforming loans, (at least) on their balance sheets, have been taken care of.”

Sugita, concurrently president of Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, also defended most of the banks’ decisions not to reveal the amount of loans categorized between normal and risky loans.

The banks disclosed the amount of their loans to legally or virtually bankrupt borrowers and other problem loans, however all but Fuji Bank and its subsidiary Yasuda Trust & Banking Co. refused to reveal the amount legally termed “loans to borrowers that require attention.”

Such loans include those made to borrower firms that have been in the red for two consecutive years. Banks are reluctant to release these figures and insist they are not sour loans.

This has invited criticism from some experts, who say the banks are fostering distrust among the public by giving the impression that they are still hiding problem loans.

But Sugita said the banks are complying with disclosure standards as best as they can.

He added that neither his bank nor the bankers’ group intends to expand the scope of disclosure to include loans in the “require attention” category, out of fear of giving borrowers bad publicity.

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