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Robust overseas investment from the public and private sectors and individuals far surpassed that made by nonresident investors in Japan to lift the balance of net external assets to a record 215.081 trillion yen at the end of 2006, according to a Finance Ministry report sent to the Cabinet on Friday.

The balance for the calendar year represents a rise of 19 percent from a year ago and the first jump in two years.

Japan appears to have kept its status as the world’s largest creditor nation for the 16th consecutive year, according to the report.

The balance of net external assets is calculated by subtracting total loans and various forms of investment in Japan made by nonresident investors from those made overseas by Japanese public and private sectors and individuals.

The growth of external assets, including direct investments and securities investments by the private sector and individuals, outpaced growth in Japan’s external debts.

Both external assets and external debts have now grown for four straight years, each to record figures.

The balance of Japan’s external assets increased by 10.3 percent to reach 558.106 trillion yen.

In addition to continued growth in foreign bond and equity investment, the weak yen helped increase the value of foreign currency-denominated assets.

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