Shinginko Tokyo, Japan's first bank created by a local government, was set up by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in April 2004 and started operations a year later to realize Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara's pet idea of supporting struggling small and medium-size companies in the capital. With many of its loans having soured, however, the metro government is now trying to bail out the ailing bank by injecting an additional ¥40 billion in taxpayer money.

The following are some questions and answers about Shinginko Tokyo:

Why did the metro government establish Shinginko Tokyo?