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The Liberal Democratic Party plans to delay and review the plan to fully privatize the Development Bank of Japan, because it has become an important provider of funds to firms hit by the credit crunch, LDP sources said Friday.

The LDP has drafted a bill to revise the DBJ law to postpone its full privatization, or the completion of sales of government-held shares to the private sector, by 3 1/2 years until a two-year period to April 2019, they said.

The review of full privatization should be completed before the state’s stake in the DBJ slips below 50 percent, the sources said.

The DBJ became a stock company last October, with full privatization planned to take five to seven years. The draft bill would allow the government to invest ¥1.7 trillion in the DBJ by March 2012 to deal with the economic downturn, resulting in full privatization being carried out in five to seven years from April 2012, the sources said.

“The government may have to hold DBJ shares to pave the way for the DBJ to cooperate with the government in addressing the crisis,” Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano said Friday.

The DBJ has attracted growing attention as a provider of low-interest loans to small firms hit by the credit crunch amid the financial crisis, prompting LDP lawmakers to call on the government to cancel full privatization and retain some stake in the bank.

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