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Business trends

Spending at Japan companies soars to record in fiscal 2018

Funds poured into M&A, tech and dividends in break with past practice

Investing in labor-saving technology such as robots as helped Japanese companies deal with a labor shortage.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese companies, notorious for stockpiling cash, boosted spending to record levels last fiscal year, putting more money to work and betting on growth even as China's economy cools and other headwinds intensify.

Nikkei examined cash flows, assets, liabilities and other data at about 3,600 nonfinancial businesses. Aggregate cash flow from investing activities -- which includes purchases and sales of businesses, factories and equipment -- grew 3% to 51.6 trillion yen ($475 billion), marking a third straight year of all-time highs. Investing cash flow has risen more than 20% over the last five years.

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