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Japan Inc. afraid to create ripples in its $1tn cash pool

Flush with funds but treading water, companies can't afford not to invest in growth

Daiwa House employees work at a logistics facility. The homebuilder is investing more in building and managing logistics centers to capitalize on the growth of e-commerce.

TOKYO -- Boosted by record profits, Japan's listed companies are sitting on more cash than ever -- about a trillion dollars' worth. Yet most of them are afraid to funnel that money into takeovers and other growth strategies, preferring instead to hold those funds for a rainy day. Unless they learn to put their vast wealth to use, however, their current wave of profit growth will inevitably come crashing down.   

Emblematic of this caution is security services provider Secom, which racked up its fifth straight record profit in fiscal 2016. It boasted 462 billion yen ($4.13 billion) in cash on hand at the end of the year to March 31, up nearly 20% on the year and six times monthly turnover.

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