Japan's net external assets at record 296 tril. yen at 2012 end

The net external asset balance held by Japanese companies, government and individual investors reached a record 296.3 trillion yen as of the end of 2012, up 11.6 percent from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

The second straight year of rise came mainly because the yen equivalent value of the assets grew under the yen's depreciation.

Japan is believed to have become the world's largest holder of overseas net assets for the 22nd straight year, exceeding 150.3 trillion yen held by China and 121.9 trillion yen held by Germany.

Japan's external assets came to 661.9 trillion yen, up 13.8 percent, due to increases in investment in foreign stocks and bonds, as well as in mergers and acquisitions of foreign companies.

External liabilities held by Japan, meanwhile, rose 15.7 percent to 365.6 trillion yen, as prices of Japanese stocks owned by foreign investors moved upward.