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The average daily lending balance by the nation’s banks in 2001 fell 3.9 percent from the year before to 447.05 trillion yen for the fifth straight year of decline, the Bank of Japan said Friday.

Lending has been shrinking since 1997, when the failure of Yamaichi Securities Co. and Hokkaido Takushoku Bank put a spotlight on the true condition of Japan’s financial system.

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