Reflecting ongoing retrenchment of Japan's once robust banking industry, foreign loans at Japanese institutions plummeted 9.2% in the quarter that ended March 31, according to central bank data.

The outstanding balance of overseas loans at Japanese banks totaled $1.13 trillion at the end of the quarter. There were particularly sharp declines in lending to Asian nations.

Outstanding loans to Europe, excluding Eastern Europe, fell 9.3% in the quarter, to $340.93 billion, while lending to North America dipped 4.9%, to $333.75 billion. Loans to Asia plunged 15.3%, to $50.48 billion.

Foreign debts at Japanese institutions slumped almost 20%, to $568.33 billion, as the banks scaled back their overseas operations.

Bank of Japan's survey covers about 220 financial institutions in the country.

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