• Kyodo News

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Corporate bankruptcies leaving debts of 10 million yen or more in fiscal 2006 rose for the first time in five years, climbing 1.3 percent to 13,337, private credit research agency Tokyo Shoko Research said Wednesday.

Corporate bankruptcies leaving under 100 million yen in debts meanwhile accounted for 65.5 percent of total bankruptcies, the highest in 10 years.

The total debt resulting from bankruptcies, however, fell 11.0 percent to 5.45 trillion yen, dropping below the 6 trillion yen mark for the first time in 16 years, Tokyo Shoko said.

Since small concerns employing four or fewer workers accounted for 61.0 percent of all bankruptcies, surpassing 60 percent for the second consecutive year, it is likely that, combining all the data, smaller companies made up the bulk of the failures, the agency said.

A dozen semigovernmental “third-sector” businesses also went bankrupt, along with three listed firms, down from five a year ago — the fewest in a decade.

Corporate bankruptcies increased in six sectors — information and telecommunications, wholesale, retail, agriculture, services, and construction.

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