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Led by weakness in the services sector, the number of corporate bankruptcies rose 3.1 percent in April from a year earlier to 1,121 for the first increase in two months, a private credit research agency said Monday.

Debts left by those failed companies came to 616.31 billion yen, up 44.4 percent, according to the results of a monthly survey by Tokyo Shoko Research, which covered companies going under with debts of 10 million yen or more.

The number of bankruptcies, although increasing by 34 from last year, was the third lowest for the month of April in the last 10 years. The agency cited the continued expansion of the economy and more “safety net” measures applied to support small and midsize companies.

However, the debt amount topped 500 billion yen for the first time in the last three Aprils.

Relatively large-scale bankruptcies with 1 billion yen or more in debt totaled 76, up 58.3 percent, or 28, from April last year. It was the largest over the last 12 months, the agency said.

By industry, the services sector did the worst by seeing the biggest number of bankruptcies over the year. Among others, the figure for hotels and other lodging facilities doubled to 18.

Of 10 monitored industrial sectors, however, six saw their bankruptcy numbers decrease from a year earlier.

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