Japanese government to help small businesses with $9.4 billion in funding
The Japanese government will use a fund from the public and private sectors to financially support small and medium-sized businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese sources reported Thursday.
The plan is to funnel up to 1 trillion yen ($9.4 billion) to eligible companies through the fund starting in mid-May, with each getting around 100 million yen ($940,000).
The targets of the funding initiative are businesses that cannot currently survive on bank financing alone, but can be expected to recover once the virus threat subsides. One of the main criteria is that they employ at least 50 people and have sales of 1 billion yen ($9.4 million) or more per year. In addition, companies that were already in financial difficulty before the crisis will not be eligible.
Whether the Japanese film industry will benefit from this initiative remains to be seen. Art house cinemas, known locally as “mini-theaters”, which support Japan’s large independent film sector, are particularly at risk. A crowdfunding campaign launched by directors Koji Fukada and Ryusuke Hamaguchi broke the 200 million yen ($1.9 million) mark on April 28 and is on track to hit its 300 million yen goal ( $2.8 million) by the May 14 deadline. The money will go to 109 cinemas and 92 related organizations participating in the campaign.
The government’s Regional Economy Vitalization Corporation of Japan is expected to make capital injections. The REVIC fund has a surplus of 50 billion yen ($470 million) and will be able to raise up to $9.4 billion in government-backed funding.