This paper provides a brief explanation of the Japanese public credit guarantee system and analyzes what role it played during the global financial crisis. The author conducted a questionnaire survey of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Aichi Prefecture, the prefecture most seriously hit by the crisis, in collaboration with the Aichi-ken Credit Guarantee Corporation. Using the survey, which provides valuable information about the usage of the credit guarantee program, this paper finds that the credit guarantee system was effective in protecting the economy from collapsing. The system was so generous that now almost all SMEs want it to remain unchanged. However, as the generous system brings heavy financial burdens on the Japanese government and, more seriously, discourages firms and banks from improving their efficiencies, the author insists that reforms, such as limiting the target and the guarantee coverage, are inevitable.
credit guarantee system Japan financial crisis questionnaire small and medium-sized enterprises