TOKYO: Leading Japanese brands including Toyota, Honda and Canon rose in value during the last year despite the manifold challenges that faced the country, a study from Interbrand has argued.

The consultancy estimated that Japan's 30 biggest brands are now worth $112.5bn, up from $110.9bn in 2011. By contrast, the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell in value from ¥292bn to ¥251bn in the last 12 months.

Given these figures, and the combined forces of the natural disasters that hit Japan in 2011, plus broader business competitiveness issues, the analysis suggested most leading players had moved wisely.

"Adequate investment in brands brought many benefits to corporate activities even during a time of crisis, and great advantages in terms of business continuity," it said.

Toyota, the automaker, led the charts on $27.8bn, an 8% annual increase, but lagging the $34.1bn it posted in 2008, after which global economic issues and high-profile recalls had a major negative impact.

Honda, from the same sector, claimed second on $19.4bn, a 7% improvement year on year. Canon, the computer hardware group, was third on $11.7bn, a modest 2% gain.

The trends were less favourable for Sony, in the electronics sector, which was down 13% to $9.9bn, reflecting falling sales and a failure to compete with rivals like Apple in sectors including smartphones and tablets.

Nissan, the carmaker logged the largest increase among the leading players, up 32% to $3.8bn, aided by growth in emerging markets. By contrast, Nomura, the investment bank, slid 21% to $933m, having been hit hard by the eurozone crisis.

Interbrand also published a list of Japan's most valuable "domestic" brands, where overseas sales contribute less than 30% of revenues. Overall, this group logged modest year on year growth of 1%.

NTT DoCoMo, a mobile telecoms specialist, was number one here on $10.9bn, a 1% lift compared with 2011. Financial services group MUFG was down 1% to $5.7bn, while Softbank, another telco, gained 7% to $4.4bn.

SMFG, also in financial services, saw its value rise by 2% to $3.7bn. Au, again in the telecommunications segment, lodged an 8% leap to $3.2bn, and Uniqlo, the fashion retailer, improved by 13%, to $2.9bn.

Among the brands posting fast growth here were two social gaming firms: Mobage, up 32% $470m, and GREE, up 34% to $461m. Rakuten, the ecommerce site, grew by 14% to $1.5bn.

Data sourced from Interbrand; additional content by Warc staff