TOKYO Oct 20 Japan's government said it will
introduce a bill to help debt-squeezed small firms and
individuals with financing, but it was unclear if it would
include a controversial moratorium that has spooked investors.
Talk of the plan, which was first proposed last month by
newly appointed banking minister Shizuka Kamei, has helped spark
a sell-off in Tokyo banks such as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
(8306.T), on fears of an increase in bad loans.
Kamei's deputy, Vice Minister Kouhei Otsuka, said on Tuesday
the government aimed to introduce a temporary law -- lasting
until March 2011 -- to help firms and individuals struggling with
their loan payments.
The law will request financial firms to "make an effort" to
change loan terms for some borrowers. But it remained unclear if
it would include a temporary halt in repayments.
(Reporting by David Dolan)