Newly appointed financial and postal services minister Shizuka Kamei says lenders have an obligation to help borrowers survive tough times — one reason why he’s pushing to pass a bill that would put a moratorium of about three years on loan payments for small and midsize companies.

“Normally, if borrowers are having a hard time, lenders should voluntarily help them to survive and grow so that the state doesn’t have to intervene,” Kamei said in a joint interview with media organizations Friday. “That kind of economic model is the best, but the reality is different.”

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