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Foreign Investments in Japan Rise

March 19, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ Underlining the recent shift toward global business, foreign investment in Japan more than tripled to $13 billion last year compared to 1998, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper reported Sunday.

The report, citing the Bank of Japan, said that the pace of investment gathered momentum in 1999, after posting record highs for the past two years. Foreign investments last year totaled 3.4 times the 1998 figure, which stood at about $3.8 billion.

The central bank attributes the steep increase to the streamlining of government regulations and the fall in land prices, which has brought down the cost of doing business in Japan.

The Bank of Japan was closed Sunday and could not be reached for comment.

The global realignment in industries and restructuring by Japanese companies also created opportunities, the report said.

The auto, telecommunications, banking and insurance sectors saw some of the biggest deals.

Renault SA bought into Nissan Motor Co. while British Telecommunications PLC and AT&T Corp. took stakes in Japan Telecom Co.

Manulife Financial, Canada’s largest life insurer, brought Daihyaku Mutual Life Insurance Co. under its wing.

Overseas direct investment by Japanese companies declined for the first time since 1993, dropping 17.6 percent to $24 billion.

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