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Japan takes actions in the recession period – The Bank of Japan will hold an emergency board meeting tomorrow to consider ways to help companies obtain funds as the recession deepens.

The policy board will discuss expanding the range of corporate debt it accepts from lenders to encourage banks to increase funding for businesses, the central bank said on its Web site today. The meeting will start at 1 p.m. in Tokyo and Governor Masaaki Shirakawa will brief the press at 3:30 p.m., the statement said.

Shirakawa said today that companies’ access to funding is deteriorating “at an accelerating pace” and likened an increase in borrowing costs to the country’s credit crunch 10 years ago. Japanese banks are once again becoming less willing to lend on concern that businesses won’t repay debt.

The credit squeeze “may have already depressed capital spending as smaller firm’s hoarded cash in order to meet year-end obligations,” said Naomi Fink, Japan strategist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in Tokyo. “A shock to small and midsize companies who dominate the services sector could prove the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Japanese economy.”

Public broadcaster NHK reported earlier today that the policy board will discuss allowing banks to use corporate bonds with lower credit ratings as collateral for obtaining cash from the central bank. The program would stay in place until April, NHK reported, without saying where it got the information.

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