TOKYO — An overdue overhaul of corporate accounting practices in Japan is exposing hidden “time bombs” in the form of unfunded pension plans for all major Japanese companies including automakers. Here, as in the U.S., companies fund pensions off the balance sheet, and until the so-called “economic bubble” burst almost a decade ago, Japanese pension funds were healthy. Since then the workforce has aged, investment gains in pension accounts have been poor to non-existent, annual ...

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