The overseas production ratio of Japanese manufacturers rose 0.6 percentage point from the previous year to a record high of 16.2 percent in fiscal 2004, up for the fifth straight year, according to an annual government survey released Monday.

The ratio represents the amount of sales generated by manufacturer’s overseas units as a part of total sales both at home and abroad.

By sector, the ratio for automakers and other transportation equipment manufacturers amounted to 36.0 percent, up 3.4 points from the previous year, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

Both sales and pretax profits of the overseas subsidiaries hit record-high totals of 163 trillion yen and 6.1 trillion yen, respectively. Sales rose 12.0 percent and pretax profits jumped 30.2 percent from the previous year.

By region, sales grew 20.4 percent to 52.6 trillion yen in Asia, with China leading the way with a 26.4 percent increase to 18.5 trillion yen. Sales rose 24.7 percent to 21.0 trillion yen in Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The number of Japanese companies that newly expanded business overseas in fiscal 2004 fell 167 from the previous year to 466 for the second straight yearly decline. A total of 538 Japanese companies withdrew from overseas markets in the reporting year, down 64 from fiscal 2003 and marking the second consecutive annual decline.

As a result, firms withdrawing from overseas markets outnumbered those entering those markets by 72. METI officials said the number of firms exiting foreign markets remained at high levels, reflecting moves mainly by major trading firms to restructure and consolidate the operations of their overseas affiliates.

The number of employees at the overseas units rose 7.7 percent from the previous year to 4.06 million.

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