By Johann Tasker

ONE of Japans largest traders of barley and dairy products has announced its bankruptcy with reported debts of £2.9 billion.

The collapse of Toshoku Ltd – a specialised foodstuffs trading house – is thought to be Japans fourth-largest business failure since the war.

Toshoku officials called a press conference earlier today after the companys share price plummeted 36.5% following rumours of massive losses.

A spokesman denied allegations that the company had made huge losses on foreign exchange transactions. But he confirmed that Toshoku directors had filed for court protection from creditors.

The spokesman blamed the companys collapse on inflated asset prices which had weighed it down with bad loans as the Japanese economic bubble burst.