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Japan remains world's biggest creditor at end of 2018

This undated file photo shows a hand holding a magnifying glass above yen banknotes. (LightRocket/Getty/Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The net balance of external assets held by the Japanese government, companies and individual investors stood at 341.56 trillion yen ($3.11 trillion) at the end of 2018, remaining the world's largest for the 28th consecutive year, the Finance Ministry said Friday.

    The figure, up 3.7 percent from a year earlier and the second-largest amount on record, reflected increased overseas investment by Japanese companies, according to the ministry.

    In the reporting year, Germany was second with 260.28 trillion yen, followed by China's 236.08 trillion yen.

    Among components, direct investment in the United States stood at a record-high 55.63 trillion yen and that in China was also the largest on record at 13.66 trillion yen.

    Japan's overseas assets edged up 0.5 percent to 1,018.38 trillion yen, up for the 10th straight year, supported by mergers and acquisitions by Japanese firms and investment by institutional investors in foreign stocks and bonds.

    Overseas liabilities fell 1.1 percent to 676.48 trillion yen, down for the first time in nine years, in line with a drop in prices of Japanese stocks held by foreign investors.

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