• Kyodo News

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Firms listed on stock exchanges sought 10,687 voluntary or early retirements in the first half of the year, down 30.4 percent from a year earlier, a study by Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd. found.

The number of companies soliciting applications fell 54.5 percent to 66, reflecting an improvement in business sentiment amid growing demand in emerging countries, including China, the credit research firm said.

The figure, however, remained above 10,000, and sectors experiencing a slow recovery, including retail and information systems, are expected to continue soliciting applications.

Promise Co., a major consumer finance firm, sought 900 applications in the six-month period, while Yamaha Motor Co. sought 800, Kintetsu Department Store Co. 700 and Nishimatsu Construction Co. 600.

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