Japan’s record failure

The potential for asset fire sales in Japan from the country’s listed property sector became clearer today after it emerged that of 33 quoted companies to go bust in 2008, 25 of them were property focused. The number of bankruptcies in 2008 beat the previous record set in 2002, of 29.

The number of corporate bankruptcies in Japan in 2008 grew by 11 percent over the past year and now stands at a record 33 companies, according to Tokyo Shoko Research data released today. The figure eclipses the previous record of 29 bankruptcies in 2002.

Tokyo Shoko assessed 10 different industry sectors and found that corporate failures had increased in nine. In all, 15,646 companies fell victim to bankruptcy, the highest level seen since 2003. Of that figure, 4,467 were in the construction industry.

The research firm said that in December alone, corporate bankruptcies rose 24.2 percent on the same period of last year.

The findings of Tokyo Shoko Research confirm the predictions of MGPA managing director John Saunders, who said at PERE’s Asia round table discussion last November, that the plight of these companies could bring about attractive investment opportunities.

“It is encouraging to see that unlike the last cycle that we went through, the banks and ‘Japan Inc.’, are clearly willing to let companies fail when they are not capable of going on,” he said.