Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the government will launch a plan to extend zero interest loans with no collateral to small and midsized companies reeling amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The state-owned Japan Finance Corp. is among entities that will join the program aimed at helping small businesses gain access to financing to help them stay afloat, Abe said at a meeting of a government task force on the coronavirus response Saturday.

"We will make our utmost efforts to keep jobs and make sure companies can maintain their business," Abe said during the meeting at his office.