The Justice Ministry plans to relax the regulations for indebted individuals seeking court-mandated rehabilitation, ministry officials said Saturday.

At present, the civil rehabilitation law allows individuals saddled with debts of up to 30 million yen, excluding housing loans, to file for rehabilitation.

The ministry will submit a bill to the Diet during an extraordinary session, expected to be convened in the fall, to revise the maximum eligible amount of debt, excluding housing loans, to 50 million yen, the officials said.

The law was originally enacted for corporate rehabilitation, but the Diet revised it in November 2000 to allow individual debtors who are expected to have stable incomes in the future to apply for rehabilitation under its fast-track procedures.

The rehabilitation scheme for individuals was implemented in April 2001.

The ministry decided to make it easier for individuals to utilize the scheme and avoid bankruptcy after the number of people who applied for the scheme steadily increased, the officials said.

According to the ministry, about 6,200 individuals filed applications in 2001 for rehabilitation. The number doubled to some 13,000 in 2002.

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