FILE PHOTO: A businessman walks near the Bank of Japan (BOJ) headquarters in Tokyo, Japan in this file photo from February 15, 2016. REUTERS / Thomas Peter / Files

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Bank of Japan on Friday decided to launch a new loan facility that aims to channel more funds to small and medium-sized businesses suffering from the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.

In an emergency political meeting, the central bank also extended by six months until March 2021 the deadline for a series of measures it has deployed to combat the fallout of the virus, including the fast-track purchase. of corporate debt.

As widely expected, the BOJ kept its monetary parameters unchanged, including its target for a short-term interest rate of -0.1% and a commitment to guide the yield on 10-year government bonds around 0%. .

BOJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda will not hold a press conference, the central bank said.

The BOJ eased monetary policy for the second month in a row in April by stepping up purchases of risky assets and committing to buy unlimited amounts of government bonds to fight the pandemic.

Kuroda had asked his staff last month to work on the new loan facility that targets small businesses affected by the health crisis.

In an overview of the program released in April, the BOJ said the new facility would offer zero-interest loans to financial institutions that would boost lending to small businesses by leveraging government guarantee programs. He also offered to pay 0.1% interest to lenders who increase these loans.

Reporting by Leika Kihara and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim