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Business trends

Japan companies' stock buybacks soar to highest in 16 years

$70bn in repurchases for fiscal 2022 stand in contrast to declines elsewhere

Big companies in Japan, in contrast to their counterparts elsewhere, are increasing their buybacks of shares as they try to improve their capital efficiency. (Photo by Yo Inoue)

TOKYO -- Share buybacks by Japanese companies will reach their highest level in 16 years in the fiscal year ending this month, topping 9 trillion yen ($67.6 billion) and surpassing the record set in fiscal 2006, when growth in emerging economies led to strong corporate performances in Japan.

Mitsui & Co., a trading company, is planning its largest-ever buyback, and industrial conglomerate Hitachi will conduct its first buyback in eight years. Although Japanese corporate earnings are generally declining, there is a clear trend to give some of companies' abundant cash reserves back to shareholders in response to investor demands.

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