Japanese Banks Asked to Lend to Small Firms After Moratorium End

Japanese Financial Services Minister Ikko Nakatsuka said the banking regulator plans to ask lenders to avoid curtailing credit after the March expiry of a moratorium on loan repayments by small businesses.

Nakatsuka made the comments during his opening remarks at a meeting in Tokyo attended by senior officials of the Financial Services Agency. He didn’t provide any specifics.

The financial-industry watchdog has pledged to craft measures to help smaller businesses as the appreciation of the yen, coupled with deflation, dealt a blow to local manufacturers and exporters. Japan has extended the moratorium twice over the past three years as defaults mounted and the record earthquake in March 2011 weakened the economy.

The law was introduced in December 2009 to stem small-business bankruptcies by helping borrowers defer repayments to lenders.

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