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JCP criticizes major banks for their reluctance to finance SMEs and its forcible debt collection policies

At the House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting on January 20, Japanese Communist Party representative Daimon Mikishi urged the government to take strict actions against major bank groups that are forcing small- and medium-sized enterprises to go bankrupt by rejecting new loans to them and forcibly collecting their debt.

Prime Minister Aso Taro said, "the major banks' attitude is a very serious problem."

For the past year, major financial institutes increased loans to big companies by 6 trillion yen while loans to small- and medium-sized companies were reduced by 1.1 trillion yen.

Daimon said Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation refused new loans to small- and medium-sized businesses, and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ froze small- and medium-sized businesses' bank accounts.

Aso admitted that it is wrong to freeze bank accounts.

Finance Minister Nakagawa Shoichi said, "Sudden freezes on bank accounts must not be allowed."

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Nikai Toshihiro stated that big banks' rejection of new loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises is the problem. "Major banks should take into account each company's situation", he said.

Pointing out that 60 percent of Japanese people oppose a consumption tax increase (December 29, 2008, Nikkei), Daimon stressed that Prime Minister Aso is ignoring public opinion because he is attempting to incorporate a supplementary provision that the consumption tax will be increased from FY 2011 into the bill to revise the taxation law for FY 2009.

Daimon also emphasized, "If Prime Minister Aso sets the track for a consumption tax hike in the future, you should include that in the party platform before holding the general election."

- Akahata, January 21, 2009

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