JAL likely to get government fund as minister rules out bankruptcy

Japan's new transport minister Seiji Maehara said that bankruptcy is not an option for beleaguered Japan Airlines Corp. (JAL).

''JAL and All Nippon Airways Co. must remain as the two pillars of Japan's aviation industry,'' Maehara said at a news conference.

Maehara, a senior member of the Democratic Party of Japan, was sworn in as the country's new transport minister on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview with Japan Today newspaper yesterday, the financial services minister Shizuka Kamei said that the airline may get more government-backed loans until it ties up with some other players.

State-owned Development Bank of Japan, which has already made 235 billion yen ($2.6 billion) in loans to JAL, could provide more funds, Kamei said.

According to industry experts, JAL will need to find an extra 150 billion yen later this year to stay afloat.