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Corporate bankruptcies leaped 10.38 percent in February from a year earlier to number 1,318, rising for the ninth straight month, a private credit-research agency said Monday.

The debts left by these firms more than tripled to ¥1.23 trillion, increasing for six straight months, with the collapse of relatively large exchange-listed companies lifting the overall sum, according to Tokyo Shoko Research.

There were 244 bankruptcies among manufacturers, and 222 in the wholesale trade sector. The tough times continued in the construction and real estate sectors.

Seven firms traded on stock exchanges, including moneylender SFCG Co. and condominium developer Japan General Estate Co., went under, accounting for 53.6 percent of the total debts.

The cumulative total of failed listed companies since last April reached a new post-World War II high of 42 with the wave of bankruptcies spreading from the construction and real estate sectors to include the financial, wholesale trade and service industries.

Of the 10 industrial sectors the research agency surveyed, bankruptcies in February decreased in only two — the retail trade and financial and insurance sectors.

Workers affected by the bankruptcies surged 59.2 percent to 16,363, staying above the 10,000 mark for the 13th straight month. The figures cover bankrupt firms with debts of ¥10 million or more.

Teikoku Databank, another private credit-research firm, said corporate failures totaled 1,131 in February, up 21.0 percent from a year earlier, accompanied by debts worth ¥1.20 trillion, up 141.5 percent.

The figures are lower than the Tokyo Shoko Research data because the Teikoku Databank report covers only failures filed in court and involving debts of ¥10 million or more.

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