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The government will reduce the interest rate on loans extended by its affiliated financial institutions to small and midsize companies suffering from recent natural disasters to 2 percent from 2.1 percent, effective next Wednesday, government officials said Thursday.

The rate applies to companies affected by the eruptions of Mount Usu in Hokkaido and Mount Oyama on Miyake Island south of Tokyo, quakes jolting the island of Niijima and Kozu Island south of Tokyo and heavy rains in the Tokai region of central Japan, they said.

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