There were 1,482 corporate bankruptcies in May, down 12.6 percent from a year earlier for the fifth consecutive month of year-on-year decline, Teikoku Databank Ltd. said Friday.

The total fell below 1,500 for the first time in four months, and liabilities left by the failed firms dropped 26.2 percent on the year to 800.85 billion yen, falling below 1 trillion yen for the second consecutive month, the private credit-research agency said.

The number of failed businesses was the 12th worst for a May since the end of World War II, while the total liabilities was the fifth worst, Teikoku Databank said in a report covering corporate failures involving debts of 10 million yen or more.

Pointing out that the protracted deflation involves a mix of factors that trigger as well as prevent failures, the company said the number of bankruptcies still has the potential to rise, despite being on a declining trend.

Liabilities in May swelled following the collapse of K.K. RST, a Tokyo-based financial firm that was handling real estate-backed loans, which left 212.4 billion yen in debts, Teikoku Databank said.

The number of failures among manufactures registered a sizable 31.2 percent decrease to 216.

Three listed companies went bust in May — midsize contractor Daiwa Construction Co., pipe engineering firm Kyoei Co. and nuclear power device maker Oye Kogyo Co.

Recession-induced bankruptcies, including those caused by sluggish sales and bad debts, stayed at a high level at 1,146, or 77.3 percent, of the total bankruptcies for May.

Failed companies that had been in business for 30 years or longer came to 367, accounting for 24.8 percent of the total.

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