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Japan still world's top creditor at end of 2019

May 27 (Japan Times) - Japan remained the world’s largest creditor at the end of 2019, with the net balance of external assets held by its government, companies and individual investors hitting a record ¥364.53 trillion ($3.40 trillion), the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

The figure, up 6.8 percent from a year earlier and the highest since comparable data became available in 1996, reflected increased direct investments abroad by Japanese firms and a rise in prices of foreign stocks held by domestic investors.

Japan was the world’s largest holder of overseas net assets for the 29th consecutive year, the ministry said.

A ministry official refrained from presenting an outlook for the possible impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the 2020 balance.

In the reporting year, Germany had the world’s second-largest net external assets, with ¥299.83 trillion at the end of 2019, followed by China with ¥231.77 trillion. The United States was the biggest net external debt holder with ¥1.199 quadrillion, according to the ministry.

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In Hokkaido, where bear attacks on cattle have been frequent, stray dogs exhibit wolf-like behavior have now become a serious issue. On June 19, footage captured in Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, showed a stray dog rushing out aggressively towards an already formed pack. This region has been plagued by the problem of stray dogs for around 20 years due to uncontrolled breeding.

Honda's Super Cub, known as the world's best-selling motorbike with over 100 million units produced, will soon see the end of an era. Honda has announced its decision to stop the production of motorbikes with engine capacities of 50cc or less, including the iconic Super Cub.

The Emperor and Empress of Japan have arrived in the UK for an official visit aimed at strengthening friendly relations. This marks the Emperor's first state visit to the UK in 26 years since 1998.

According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 28.3% of women born in 1975 in Japan are childless, the highest rate among member countries.

The long-standing seniority-based system in Japanese companies is being phased out. Many have considered it natural to rise with age, but there have been times when people desired recognition based on ability. With this deeply ingrained system now under review, will the decision by a major bank change Japan's corporate culture?

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The series 'Sonaeru,' which focuses on disaster preparedness, brings attention to an incident from July 2023 when record-breaking rainfall in Fukuoka Prefecture's Kurume City triggered a massive landslide in the Minoo Mountains, resulting in one fatality. This region faced a similar disaster 300 years ago, with historical documents offering clues on how to prepare for such unexpected events.

Japanese police are stepping up efforts to crack down on the designated gangs Yamaguchi-gumi and Kizuna-kai whose rivalry continues.

In July two years ago, former Prime Minister Abe was shot and killed. It has been revealed that the man accused in the incident said he 'did not expect the situation to become what it is now.'

Police in central Japan are investigating the possibility of a bear attack following the grim discovery of a man in his 50s found dead in a forest with claw marks on his face and back.

A high-profile papa katsu woman who earns 5 million yen a month has shared her insights following the resignation of former MP Miyazawa over a papa katsu scandal. In a candid interview, the woman, identified as Rika, 25, shed light on her two-year experience in the world of compensated dating, commonly referred to as papa katsu.

In a significant ruling regarding the estate of businessman 'Kishu Don Juan,' the court declared on Friday the will, which states that his 1.3 billion yen estate be donated entirely to the city, to be valid. Relatives had contested the will's validity, but the court dismissed their claims.

A hotel in Kyoto refused to accommodate an Israeli man, unilaterally identifying him as a member of the military. The city issued administrative guidance to the hotel on June 20, citing potential violations of the Hotel Business Law.

A steam locomotive (SL) driver at Mooka Railway was found to have exceeded the alcohol limit twice during pre-operation checks but continued to operate the train. The incident came to light following an internal whistleblower's report.