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Toyota Motor Corp. has retained its spot as the biggest declared income earner in Japan for the fourth straight year, a private research firm said Friday.

The country’s largest automaker declared 988.7 billion yen in taxable income for the fiscal year to March 31, up 5.5 percent from a year earlier, securing its top position in the ranking of taxable income earners, Teikoku Databank Ltd. said.

Honda Motor Co. was third at 316.4 billion yen, with its brisk auto exports to North America and Asia helping it move up from fifth a year earlier.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which declared 348.3 billion yen, moved up one place to second position.

Tax offices release the names of companies that declare income of 40 million yen or more. For fiscal 2002, 71,060 companies declared income of more than 40 million yen, totaling 32.2 trillion yen, according to Teikoku Databank. The number of companies and the total amount of declared income decreased from the previous year for the second straight year.

Reflecting rapid growth of information technology-related business, J-Phone Co., a major maker of popular camera-equipped mobile phones, jumped to seventh place from 131st with 230.7 billion yen.

Canon Inc., which had brisk digital camera sales, made the top 10 for the second straight year, moving up one place to eighth.

East Japan Railway Co. rose to fifth from 11th with rationalization measures such as long-term debt disposal taking effect.

Major electronics manufacturers continued to face harsh times in fiscal 2002, with Sharp Corp. in 32nd place being the only company to declare an income of over 40 million yen.