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Corporate bankruptcies fell in May for the 10th straight month, extending the longest streak of declines in five years as the economic recovery helped more firms stay afloat.

Business failures slid 15.1 percent from a year earlier to 1,021 cases, Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd. said Tuesday.

A resurgence in overseas demand helped the economy sustain its rebound in the first quarter. While government lending programs have been helping, the decline in bankruptcies is increasingly reflecting better business prospects for Japanese companies, economist Yoshimasa Maruyama said.

“The economy itself is improving,” Maruyama, a senior economist at Itochu Corp., said before the report was released. “It’s been a year since the rebound began. It’s typical for the number of bankruptcies to fall by now.”

Even so, three listed companies collapsed last month, according to Tokyo Shoko. Properst Co., the property developer that had pop star Madonna promote high-rise apartment sales in central Tokyo, filed for bankruptcy protection.

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