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Supermarket chain operator Nagasakiya Co., which is currently protected from creditors under the corporate rehabilitation law, said Monday it has been granted six more months to compile a business rehabilitation plan, due partly to the large number of its creditors.

The Tokyo District Court originally set May 19 as the deadline, but has agreed with Nagasakiya’s rehabilitation administrator to postpone it to Nov. 19, it said.

Nagasakiya’s five affiliates that are also under court protection have received similar rescheduling for submitting rehabilitation plans, it added.

Nagasakiya said the postponement was sought to allow more time to determine the amount of debts owed to creditors.

The administrator faces difficulties, partly because of the large number of creditors — several thousands of corporations — and partly because of difficulties in determining the value of properties Nagasakiya placed as collateral.

The continued falls in land prices in Japan and the complicated ownership of the collateral properties make it difficult to calculate the value.

Nagasakiya, a Tokyo-based midsize supermarket chain operator, effectively went bankrupt Feb. 13, 2000, when it filed for court protection from creditors.

Its liabilities amounted to some 300 billion yen, making it the largest bankruptcy in Japan’s retail sector in terms of liabilities. Its rehabilitation officially began last May, with U.S. investment firm Cerberus Group offering financial support.

Chains cut jobs, stores

Japan’s supermarket chains, in line with streamlining programs, slashed the number of their outlets by 3 percent and full-time employees by 4 percent during fiscal 2000, it was learned Monday.

According to the Japan Chain Stores Association, its 109 member companies closed many of their loss-making and inefficient small-scale outlets, leaving 7,053 outlets nationwide as of the end of March, down by 228 from a year earlier.

Amid intensifying competition with discount retailers, sales at supermarkets nationwide are in a 28-month-long slump. A continuing fall in prices has also cut into their profits, prompting the firms to cut costs to survive.

While the firms had about 472,500 people on their payroll — roughly unchanged from a year ago — the number of full-time employees fell 4.2 percent to about 191,500.

Store operators made up for the gap by hiring more part-time workers, which cost them less. The number of part-timers rose 3.1 percent to 281,000.

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