Japan Airlines Corp.’s $25.5 billion bankruptcy may be the impetus for such companies as Hitachi Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corp., Japan’s biggest private employers, to shore up their deficit-ridden pension plans.

Japan’s top 278 companies were a combined ¥21.5 trillion behind on their pension funding in fiscal 2009, a 50 percent jump from the previous year, according to Daiwa Institute of Research in Tokyo. Hitachi’s unfunded liabilities totaled ¥1.1 trillion — triple the deficit that helped push Japan’s former national carrier into bankruptcy.

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