December 9, 2017 / 3:44 AM / in a year

Japan to extend life of state-backed 'innovation' fund

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s government decided on Saturday to extend by roughly nine years the deadline for operations at a state-backed fund aimed at promoting innovation in risky but promising new technologies.

Critics say the move will allow the government to put off the decision on whether to exit some poor investments by the Innovation Network of Japan (INCJ), which has been involved in some deals supporting ailing electronic giants such as Toshiba Corp (6502.T).

INCJ was created in 2009 as a temporary scheme to promote new industries by offering funds to risky, long-term investments until March 2025.

A government panel compiled a report on Saturday proposing extending the deadline, so INCJ can continue to invest in areas like biotechnology that require long-term funding.

Once relevant legislation passes parliament that convenes in January, the fund’s operations will likely be extended until the fiscal year ending in March 2034, government officials said.

Reporting by Kentaro Hamada, Writing by Leika Kihara; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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