TOKYO Oct 8 Japan's corporate bankruptcies jumped 34.5 percent in September from a year earlier to 1,408 cases, up for the fourth straight month, with rising fuel prices and the global credit crunch hitting transportation, construction and property firms, a research firm said on Wednesday.
Total debt involved soared nearly 12-fold from a year earlier to 5.36 trillion yen ($52.8 billion), the most since October 2000, mainly due to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brother's LEHMQ.PK Japan unit, which accounted for 87.5 percent of the total, Tokyo Shoko Research said.
September also saw a record seven listed companies going under, four of which were real estate and construction firms, including property fund manager Re-Plus Inc 8936.T.
For the fiscal first half to the end of September, the number of bankruptcies rose 11 percent to 7,863 cases, up for the third straight year on sharp rises in real estate and transportation sectors.
"The U.S.-originated financial crisis has started affecting Japanese financial institutions and other companies in both direct and indirect ways such as through stock market falls and a higher yen," Tokyo Shoko Research said.
"Securing capital supplies will be a big challenge for companies as the need for cash increases in the year-end season, but there is no sign of improvement in this situation." ($1=101.55 Yen) (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Hugh Lawson)