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The Bank of Japan’s decision not to drag interest rates further below zero provides relief for the nation’s banks after shrinking lending profits crimped first-quarter earnings.

Combined net income at Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and its two mega-bank peers fell 28 percent from a year earlier to ¥505.8 billion ($4.9 billion) in the three months ended June 30, the first full quarter under negative rates. Their net interest income slid 15 percent as the BOJ’s policy squeezed margins on loans and income from securities investments.

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