Corporate bankruptcies in Japan rose 21.5 percent in August from a year earlier to 1,704 cases, up for the 10th consecutive month, a private credit-research agency said Thursday.

Liabilities left by firms that failed in August totaled 1.378 trillion yen, up 47.4 percent, Teikoku Databank said in a report covering failures involving liabilities of 10 million yen or more.

The number of failed firms topped 1,700 for the first time in five months.

The number of failed companies and the liability amount are both the largest for any August in the postwar era, surpassing the previous record highs of 1,681 in August 1984 and 1.006 trillion yen in August 1998.

Teikoku Databank attributed the record highs to the collapse of the Hiei Sangyo real estate group and three other big bankruptcies with 100 billion yen or more in liabilities.

The number of construction companies that failed in August rose 30.3 percent from a year earlier to 542, increasing by a double-digit figure for the ninth straight month and topping 540 for the first time in 15 years and eight months.

Of the bankruptcies in August, 1,289, or 75.6 percent, were caused by recession-related factors such as poor sales and difficulties in collecting money owed.

The number of recession-induced failures was the second highest in the postwar era, next only to 1,342 cases registered in March this year.

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