The University of Tokyo said Thursday it will issue ¥20 billion ($190 million) worth of bonds next week to finance projects to address social issues following the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the first national university to do so.

The issuance of "university bonds" to enhance research activity comes as the government has reduced subsidies for universities and other institutions while relaxing requirements for the issuance of such debt.

The university plans to raise a total of around ¥100 billion from the bond market over the next decade. It will initially sell 40-year bonds with an interest rate of 0.823 percent on Oct. 16.

The funds raised will be used to upgrade facilities and improve network environments to meet growing demand for online lectures amid the pandemic.

The debt will also help finance cutting-edge research projects including the Hyper-Kamiokande neutrino observatory being constructed in Gifu Prefecture.

National universities in Japan were previously permitted to issue bonds only to finance projects that generate direct income such as running affiliated hospitals. The government relaxed the rules in June.