Japan lines up $3-billion loan package for small overseas Japanese firms

Japan has come to the aid of small overseas Japanese firms by lining up a $3-billion loan fund from government-affiliated banks to help them raise money in US dollars.

The temporary scheme, running until the end of March 2010, was announced yesterday by Japanese finance minister Kaoru Yosano, who said that Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC ) will lend up to $3 billion to overseas Japanese small and medium-sized firms operating in developing countries in Asia.

The scheme, which will start in June, is aimed at enabling Japan's small overseas firms remain competitive in the international market during the current global recession.

The ongoing global economic crisis has made Japanese banks tighten their lending policy, which has affected small firms running their day-to-day operations.

Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa, said that the central bank would oversee and monitor the funding.

State-owned Japan Finance Corp's international wing JBIC has been helping small exporters dealing in developing nations secure dollar funding.