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Japan Inc.'s stock buybacks climb to record

TOKYO -- Listed Japanese companies bought back 4.35 trillion yen ($41.8 billion) of their own shares from January to September -- the most ever for the period -- driven by a push to improve capital efficiency and corporate governance.

By May, Toyota Motor, SoftBank Group and NTT Docomo had each announced repurchases of as much as 500 billion yen. Many other companies, including Nissan Motor and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, also unveiled buyback programs of 100 billion yen or more. Total buybacks over the first nine months of the year were up about 40% from the same period a year earlier. The full-year tally could surpass the record of about 4.8 trillion yen marked last year.

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