Major Japanese movie producer Nikkatsu Corp., saddled with debts of $ 464 million after a long decline in Japan’s movie industry, applied Thursday for court permission to reorganize its finances.

It was the first bankruptcy case involving a company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section since Sanko, a steamship company, went bankrupt in 1985, said Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd., a credit research agency.

Nikkatsu president Masao Wakamatsu said his company has applied for a court-mandated reorganization over eight years. If the court approves, the company will start negotiations with creditors.

Wakamatsu said Nikkatsu assets, estimated at $ 467 million, are still balanced with its debts. “Restructuring is totally possible,” he said.

Trading in Nikkatsu shares was suspended early Thursday following a report by a credit research company that a bank had not honored one of Nikkatsu’s checks.

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