(EnergyAsia, September 30) — Small and medium-sized enterprises in Japan hurt by rising oil prices can apply for safety-net loans from government-linked financial institutions, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

According to the Japan Times, businesses must prove that their sales have fallen by more than 10% from year-ago levels and meet other conditions before they can apply for loans of up to 480 million yen.

METI’s Small and Medium Enterprise Agency has set interest on the loans at 1.55% per year, which is lower than other types of loans, with repayment expected within five to seven years.

In a survey of 1,113 small businesses, more than 90% of small and medium-size enterprises in oil products, plastics, transportation and laundry said profits are reeling from high oil prices.