Japan's central bank
The Bank of Japan will provide more funds to commercial banks by broadening the range of collateral it accepts in an effort to encourage lending to firms.
Governor Masaaki Shirakawa and his policy board had decided to accept municipal and central government bonds that were sold directly to investors to ease credit, the central bank said yesterday.
The board held the overnight lending rate at 0.1 percent by a unanimous vote.
The move would free up funds at regional banks that held the securities and were the main lenders to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Companies in the world's second-largest economy say access to funds is the tightest in a decade, according to the central bank's quarterly Tankan survey last week.
"These measures might have some impact, but probably not enough," according to Satoru Ogasawara, a foreign exchange analyst and economist at Credit Suisse Group in Tokyo.