Bank of Japan: (Research Paper) Zombies, again? COVID-19 Business Support Programs in Japan


December 30, 2021
Takeo hoshi* 1
Daiji kawaguchi* 2
Kenichi ueda* 3


We designed and conducted an enterprise-level survey on the use of government programs related to COVID-19, in collaboration with Tokyo Shoko Research, LTD (TSR). By combining the survey results with the financial statements of the responding companies, we investigated the factors underlying the award of various government programs. We find that businesses that had low credit scores before the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to apply for and receive the grants and concessional loans offered by the Japanese government in 2020. Businesses with low credit scores do not are not necessarily zombies, which are defined as businesses that are not viable but kept alive with the help of creditors and / or the government. Our result suggests that government aid may also have subsidized some underperforming companies that were not yet zombies before the pandemic.

We thank Tasuku Sato, Saisawat Samutpradit and Ryuji Sugioka for their excellent research assistance, Tokyo Shoko Research, LTD (TSR) for implementing the online survey, and Masahiro Odaka and Satoshi Takahashi of the Japan Finance Corporation ( JFC) for responding to our inquiries regarding concessional loan programs. We also appreciate the feedback we received from Midori Ookawa, Kei Takahashi, Tsutomu Miyagawa, Iichiro Uesugi and participants at the macroeconomics workshop at Waseda University, the ABFER Capital Market Development webinar, and the Center’s 9th joint conference. for Advanced Research in Finance (CARF) at the University of Tokyo and the Research and Statistics Department of the Bank of Japan. All remaining errors are ours. We acknowledge financial support from CARF, Japan Agency for Science and Technology Grant (JPMJRX18H3), and Scientific Research Assistance Grants (Kakenhi 20H00071).

  1. * 1University of Tokyo
    Email: [email protected]
  2. * 2University of Tokyo
    Email: [email protected]
  3. * 3University of Tokyo
    Email: [email protected]


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Bank of Japan published this content on December 30, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on December 30, 2021 05:26:03 AM UTC.


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