Exclusive: Japan banking regulator conducting survey on regional economies, sources say

Shinsekai shopping and amusement district amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Osaka
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians wearing protective face masks walk on a nearly empty street at the Shinsekai shopping and amusement district, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Osaka, Japan January 12, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

February 8, 2021

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s banking regulator is surveying regional lenders to gauge how new curbs imposed in January to contain COVID-19 are affecting regional economies, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The survey by the Financial Services Agency (FSA) follows the government’s roll-out of state-of-emergency measures and is aimed at forestalling a spike in bankruptcies that could destabilise regional economies, the sources said.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak publicly.

In response to questions from Reuters, the FSA said: “Since March of last year, we have made the efforts of financial institutions to support businesses a top priority in our inspections and supervisions.

“From time to time, depending on the circumstances, financial institutions are asked on an ongoing basis about the status of their support and the status of their customers.”

(Reporting by Takahiko Wada, Writing by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and David Dolan)