Mergers are beginning to pick up in Japan after slumping to a 10-year low in April, and bankers expect the pace to accelerate as the coronavirus pandemic forces weaker companies to consolidate.

"The pandemic may prompt a wider discourse about the viability of smaller players in some overcrowded industries,” said Yoshihiko Yano, head of M&A in Japan at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. "This could eventually become a catalyst for large-scale M&A activity.”

Dealmaking around the world is expected to rebound later this year after the initial shock of COVID-19 led companies to put plans on hold. Transactions in Japan and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific will pick up before the U.S. and Europe as the region’s economies reopen more quickly, according to Tetsuro Umeno, head of investment banking at Deutsche Bank AG’s Tokyo-based securities arm.