01/19/2010, 00.00
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Japan Airlines announces bankruptcy

Its debt reaches 16.5 billion dollars. It is the largest bankruptcy in the postwar history of Japan. Under state control, the company will continue to fly, but will fire 15700 people. At a cost to taxpayers of 44 billion yen.

Tokyo, (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Japan Airlines (JAL) today announced bankruptcy. The largest airline in Asia, hit by the global crisis, now has a debt that is about 16.5 billion U.S. dollars. Yesterday, the company's shares fell to their lowest point in 59 years of history, pulling down the value of JAL is now estimated at 150 million U.S. dollars, more or less the price of a new jumbo jet.  

According to analysts, this is the greatest failure for a non-financial company in the history of Japan since the war. With the declaration of bankruptcy, JAL will receive government protection. It will maintain operations with public funds and will be placed under the supervision of the State until it  begins to make a profit.  

Haruka Nishimatsu, president of JAL, will resign later today and the administration of the company will be transferred to Kazuo Inamori, founder of Kyocera Corp., the charismatic entrepreneur and Buddhist monk, famous for reviving companies in crisis.  

The rehabilitation plan includes cutting 50% of the subsidiaries of JAL and the dismissal of 30% of its workforce (15700 people). Sources close to the company say that the deal will cost the Japanese citizens at least 44 billion yen in taxes (about 337 million euros).

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