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Huge bank losses under the Rising Sun

Huge bank losses under the Rising Sun

(Japan) - Japan's four biggest banks have registered record losses for the 2001 year at over US$21 billion. The country's mountain of bad debt has hammered its banking industry, although forecasts of a return to profitability next year are doing the rounds.

Mizuho Holdings, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, Mitsubishi-Tokyo Financial Group and UFJ Holdings have pointed to write-offs of bad and non-performing loans as the key reason for their abysmal results. Slumping equity markets, which the banks play heavily in, have also contributed.

Japan's Prime Minister has made the reduction of the industry's bad loans a center of his economic reform plan, which aims to lift the country out of more than a decade long slump.

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