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Major Japanese firms plan to reduce spending on plant and equipment by 0.6 percent to 22.08 trillion yen in fiscal 2002, the governmental Development Bank of Japan said Tuesday.

The cutback would mark the second consecutive annual decline in domestic capital outlays, the DBJ said in a biannual report.

The DBJ’s semiannual poll is one of the most extensive surveys of corporate capital investment. The bank surveyed 3,021 companies with capital of 1 billion yen or more to compile the report.

The surveyed firms’ capital spending accounts for 25 percent of corporate Japan’s total capital outlays, which are a key component of gross domestic product.

By sector, manufacturers are likely to cut capital spending by 5.6 percent in fiscal 2002, the DBJ said, with semiconductor chip makers leading the way.

Nonmanufacturers are likely to push up their combined capital outlay by 1.7 percent, which might limit the adverse economic effects of the manufacturers’ sharp capital spending cuts, DBJ said.

Railways, including subway companies based in the metropolitan Tokyo, envision bolstering their combined capital outlays by 36.6 percent to 1.38 trillion yen. Railways are the biggest contributors to the economy among nonmanufacturers.

East Japan Railway Co. and related carriers have some of the biggest spending plans, including the purchase of more bullet-train cars and plans to build more stations. This will push up nonmanufacturers’ overall spending, a DBJ analyst said.

Store sales slide 1.8%

Sales at department stores in Tokyo fell 1.8 percent on a same-store basis in August from a year earlier to 137.35 billion yen for the ninth consecutive month of decline, the Japan Department Stores Association said in a preliminary report Tuesday.

The association attributed the decline to weak demand from large-lot customers and the spinoff of divisions dealing with household goods.

But the decline was not as steep as the 5.7 percent fall registered in July, helped mainly by discount sales campaigns and more business days, it said.

Sales of clothes, the largest commodity sector among department store merchandise, rose 0.9 percent. to 44.31 billion yen, up for the first time in five months.

Food sales, another major merchandise category, declined 2.1 percent to 29.7 billion yen, and those of household goods dropped 21.5 percent to 12.47 billion yen, it said, noting that sales of furniture plunged 36.2 percent because some department stores spun off divisions dealing in the products.

Sales of watches and other sundry goods dropped 1.5 percent to 23.92 billion yen, while personal goods, including accessories and shoes, rose 6.4 percent to 16.39 billion yen, thanks to discount sales.

The report covers sales at 28 stores operated by 13 department stores in Tokyo’s 23 wards.

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