TOKYO — Japan held $180.3 billion in net foreign assets at the end of 1986, surpassing the highest U.S. level of $140.7 billion in 1981, the Ministry of Finance reported Tuesday.
As of the year's end, Japan had $727.3 billion in claims against other countries, an increase of $289.6 billion in one year, the ministry said.
Claims against Japan by other countries amounted to $547 billion, a gain of $239 billion.
The report also confirmed the continuing surge of overseas borrowing by private Japanese firms, which doubled to reach $322.2 billion, as well as a 77% increase in private Japanese investment in foreign stocks and bonds. Overseas investments in securities reached $257.9 billion last year, the ministry said.
Although the ministry did not say how much the Japanese held in U.S. Treasury bonds, institutional investors such as insurance companies and trust banks now play a major role in determining prices and interest yields of the instruments that finance the U.S. government budget deficit.