Bank of Japan helps fund small businesses fighting pandemic

A woman rides an empty subway Thursday, May 21, 2020, in Tokyo. Tokyo is still under a coronavirus state of emergency until the end of May though there have been no hard lockdowns. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A woman rides an empty subway Thursday, May 21, 2020, in Tokyo. Tokyo is still under a coronavirus state of emergency until the end of May though there have been no hard lockdowns. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TOKYO – Japan's central bank said Friday it will provide some 30 trillion yen ($280 billion) to banks for financing small and medium-size businesses battling economic hardships brought on by the coronavrius pandemic.

The Bank of Japan will start providing funding to the banks in June, it said. The offer for zero-interest and unsecured loans comes on top of earlier measures, such as 20 trillion yen ($187 billion) for purchasing corporate bonds and commercial papers.

The Bank of Japan has also announced 25 trillion yen ($234 billion) financing for private debt.

The world's third-largest economy has sunk into recession, battling stagnant consumption, dwindled tourism and plunging exports.

Central banks around the world, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, have been making similar moves.

The Bank of Japan's policy board decided unanimously to continue all measures through March next year.

The bank has sought to send a message of financial stability by lifting the ceiling on the purchase of government bonds to maintain financial fluidity.

It said it will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and carry out additional measures, if needed.