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2012年9月 6日 (木)

二重ローン問題 救済策の活用を加速させたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 6, 2012)
Use financial relief systems to help people with 'double loans'
二重ローン問題 救済策の活用を加速させたい(9月5日付・読売社説)

Helping people saddled with "double loans"--those who borrowed money before the Great East Japan Earthquake and again after the disaster to rebuild their homes or companies--is taking too long.

This is because relief measures, such as repayment exemptions or reductions, have not been extensively used.

The government and the banking industry should step up their efforts to find a solution to the multiple loan problem.

Many disaster sufferers now living in temporary housing are still repaying loans for homes that were swept away by the massive tsunami triggered by the earthquake.

Last year, the government started a new support system for disaster victims who want to make a fresh start after paying off their previous loans. The system is based on the Guidelines for Individual Debtor Out-of-Court Workouts.

Negotiating with financial institutions on a debt exemption or reduction can be a difficult process for an individual. Under the system, the central government provides subsidies for debtors, including those to help cover lawyer's fees, thereby supporting debtors in negotiations with financial institutions and with legal procedures.

A man in Miyagi Prefecture, who owed 27 million yen, repaid 8 million yen by selling his home, which had been rendered unlivable, and was exempted from repaying the remaining 19 million yen to a financial institution. This case shows that the system--when it works smoothly--it can be a huge help to debtors.


Few applicants

But the problem is that this system has not been used widely. In the year since last August, when applications were first accepted, consultations were sought on about 2,500 cases and only 70 of them were resolved. The number of consultations fell far below the government's one-year projection of 10,000.

Businesses have two support systems available--one under the jurisdiction of the Reconstruction Agency, and the other through the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry. In both systems, a public entity purchases loan claims from a financial institution and sets a certain grace period for repayment to give reconstruction a nudge in the right direction. However, support has been extended in fewer than 50 cases.

Complicated procedures and strict conditions for approval are suspected to have hampered wide use of these systems. The government must examine closely where problems lie.


Lack of publicity to blame

One reason could be that the details and advantages of the support systems are not well known. The government and organizations concerned should do more to publicize the systems.

Many small and midsize firms are said to have reservations about using the systems out of fear they will become unable to borrow money from financial institutions if they cause trouble on repayment reductions and other matters.

We suggest that financial institutions explain to customers they will not be treated unfavorably even if they apply for these support systems. If disaster sufferers use the systems, it will accelerate the resuscitation of local economies and benefit financial institutions in the long term.

The Law Concerning Temporary Measures to Facilitate Financing for Small and Medium-size Enterprises, which provides a repayment moratorium for unprofitable companies, will expire next March. Given this, small and midsize firms in disaster-affected areas might find it even more difficult to secure funds.

The double loan problem needs to be resolved--urgently.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 5, 2012)
(2012年9月5日01時07分  読売新聞)


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