Corporate debt totals $5.7 tril., topping GDP

Corporate debt in Japan has exceeded the value of the country's total economic output, reaching nearly 5.7 trillion dollars as the coronavirus pandemic dragged on.

The Cabinet Office says overall corporate debt at the end of last year amounted to 116 percent of Japan's Gross Domestic Product.

That is far more than the 85 percent figure for the United States, the UK's 80 percent, and 73 percent in Germany.

An increasing number of businesses have been borrowing to cover their working funds or increase their cash reserves to cope with the effects of the pandemic.

They have taken advantage of interest-and-collateral-free loans the government set up as part of COVID-related economic support measures.

The Cabinet Office says companies have to boost their earning power and new government policies are needed to help them. That is so they can repay their debt even if consumer demand changes after the pandemic, and to help restore Japan's economic health.