Japanese state-backed fund provides first support to COVID-hit firms
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TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese state-backed fund will make its first investment into companies suffering from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Monday.
“We’ve received requests from a wide range of industries such as dining and accommodation,” Nishimura told reporters.
The financial support provided by the Regional Economy Vitalization Corporation of Japan (REVIC) through preferred stock investments included 50 million yen ($456,000) to a taxi company in southern Kumamoto prefecture.
The fund will invest the same amount into a fruit and vegetable distributor from rural Okayama prefecture, while it will support a resin manufacturer from Nagano prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, with a 30 million yen investment.
REVIC is considering whether to invest into more than 10 other businesses that have suffered from the health crisis, a government official said.
Heizo Takenaka, a close aide to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, told Reuters in December the government should consider creating a safety net for companies that may need help surviving the hit from the health crisis, such as airlines and transportation firms.
REVIC’s predecessor, the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp, invested into bankrupt Japan Airlines Co not long after the fund was founded in October 2009.
($1 = 109.64 yen)
(Reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto and Daniel Leussink; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)