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The number of corporate bankruptcies in May stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic stood at 61, Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd. said Monday.

The data covered failures that left liabilities of ¥10 million or more, according to the credit research firm.

A Tokyo Shoko Research official said that midsize companies increasingly may go bust due chiefly to production adjustments by big companies from now on.

The cumulative number of bankruptcies caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus from February through Monday reached 221 across 42 of the 47 prefectures.

The accommodation sector was hit hardest by the pandemic, with 35 bankruptcy cases, followed by the restaurant industry, with 34.

The overall number of corporate bankruptcies with debts of ¥10 million or more in the country in May tumbled 54.8 percent from a year before, or 57.7 percent from the previous month, to 314, the lowest level since June 1964, when the figure stood at 295.

This apparently came after courts and law firms reduced operations necessary for business failures amid the pandemic, sources familiar with the situation said.

Total liabilities left by failed companies in May sagged 24.3 percent from a year earlier to ¥81.34 billion, their first fall in three months. In reality, however, an increasing number of companies are apparently facing financing difficulties, the sources said.

The Tokyo Shoko Research official said that total liabilities “may return to high levels starting around summer as the number of companies having financing difficulties behind the scenes is growing.”

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