Loans for small firms’ overseas expansion rise

JIJI

Loans to help small- and medium-size companies in Japan expand into overseas markets totaled ¥39.5 billion in fiscal 2011, some 3.3 times the previous year’s amount, according to the state-run Japan Finance Corp.

The lending balance jumped as small businesses in the country stepped up moves to pursue growth opportunities in other parts of Asia at a time when the domestic economy is being battered by the strong yen and weak consumption, analysts said.

JFC Gov. Shosaku Yasui said at a news conference Tuesday that the state lender will expand its programs to support business expansion abroad and startups.

Through its financial assistance for small and midsize firms, as well as people working in the agriculture, forest and fishing industries, JFC aims to commercialize innovative technologies and make them widely available, he noted.

In the reporting year that ended in March, JFC extended ¥5.3 billion in loans to those who were starting farming, up 2.1-fold from the previous year.