The government needs to come to the financial aid of Tokyo Electric Power Co. before banks resume lending to the beleaguered utility, the head of the Japanese Bankers Association said.

"We need to wait until the government clarifies how it will help" Tepco, particularly in the area of compensation for victims of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Masayuki Oku said in an interview Tuesday. "We would provide financial assistance if the soundness of the company is maintained by a public rescue."

Oku is also chairman of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., which led a group of banks that lent about ¥2 trillion to Tepco, money that he said the utility will use to finance operations rather than pay for damages. Neither Tepco nor the government has revealed who should compensate citizens and businesses after radiation from the plant forced evacuations and tainted food and seawater.