Japan was the world's major creditor in 2011, for the 21st consecutive year, reflecting corporations' aggressive foreign acquisitions and Japan's prodigious foreign currency intervention.
The nations' net foreign assets were 253.01 trillion yen ($3.2 trillion) at the end of 2011, up by 1.515 trillion yen or 0.6 percent from the previous year, the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday.
It was the second-largest total after the record of 266.2 trillion yen in 2009 among the comparable data available since 1996, the ministry said.
Although some countries, such as the United States, had not yet announced their international investment position figures as of end-2011, Japan's net foreign assets would still be the largest in the world, the ministry said.
The country's gross foreign assets grew to 582.048 trillion yen, up 3.3 percent from a year before, rising for the third straight year, led by an increase in Japanese banks' lending overseas and expanded foreign reserves created by Japan's intervention in the currency market, the ministry said.
Japan's foreign reserves rose to 100.517 trillion yen, up by 11.187 trillion yen, as a result of the government's intervention in the currency market to curb the safe-haven yen's sharp rise and potential harm to the export-led economy.
The nation's gross external debt grew 5.5 percent to 329.038 trillion yen, led by foreign investors' holding of short-term Japanese debt securities at a record of 45.909 trillion yen, the finance ministry's data showed.
China, the world's second-largest creditor nation, had net foreign assets of 137.9 trillion yen at the end of last year, the ministry said, based on data from the International Monetary Fund.
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