Photo/IllutrationThe Asahi Shimbun

For the 28th straight year, Japan's net assets overseas are larger than any other nation.

The position is calculated by subtracting the value of assets in Japan held by foreigners from the amount abroad owned by the Japanese government, companies and individuals.

For the end of 2018, the net international investment position was 341.556 trillion yen ($3.1 trillion), an increase of 12.254 trillion yen, or 3.7 percent, over 2017.

At the end of 2018, overseas assets held by Japanese reached 1,018.038 trillion yen, an increase of 0.5 percent from the end of 2017. It marked the seventh straight year for record overseas assets. Among the reasons for the increase are direct investments by companies through mergers and acquisitions. The increase is also a sign of the diminishing size of the market in Japan that has forced many companies to look overseas for business opportunities.

The figures on the international investment position were released on May 24 by the Finance Ministry.

The total direct investment overseas at the end of 2018 was 181.704 trillion yen, an increase of 6.563 trillion yen over the previous year.

The amount of assets in Japan held by foreigners was 676.482 trillion yen at the end of 2018, a decrease of 7.58 trillion yen, or 1.1 percent. Much of the decrease was attributed to the falling prices of Japanese stocks held by foreign companies and individual investors.