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JAPAN RANKS NO. 1 AS CREDITOR NATION FOR 3RD STRAIGHT YEAR

SHARE JAPAN RANKS NO. 1 AS CREDITOR NATION FOR 3RD STRAIGHT YEAR

Japan was the world's biggest creditor nation for a third consecutive year in 1993, increasing its net overseas assets by 18.9 percent to a record $610.8 billion, the government reports. The rise relects strong growth in overseas investments and a jump in Japan's trade surplus with the rest of the world, which in April alone increased 8.1 percent in dollar terms to $11.12 billion.

Analysts say the increase in the trade surplus could encourage further criticism of Japan's trade policies prior to the summit meeting of the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized countries in Naples, Italy in July.Last week, Japan and the United States agreed to restart stalled trade talks which had been postponed because of disagreements over whether firm targets should be used in measuring Japan's progress in increasing imports.

According to the report, gross overseas assets increased 7.2 percent to $2.2 trillion. Holding of stocks and bonds jumped 6.2 percent, and private direct foreign investment and purchases of real estate and ownership of new factories increased 4.7 percent to $259.7 billion.