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JAPAN

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Top Japanese Banks Report 41.6% Profit Decline: Japan’s top 11 commercial banks said their current profits plunged in the year ended March 31 as they continued writing off bad debts from the late 1980s. The earnings reports showed that the banks are making some progress toward reducing a mountain of bad debt that the Bank of Japan now concedes is a major obstacle to economic recovery. But they said bad debt write-off would continue to be a drag on their earnings this year. Meanwhile, Japan’s electronics giants reported improved profits for the year, as booming U.S. demand for microchips and cost-cutting helped offset slow demand in the home market, according to earnings reports released last week.


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