JAPAN MAY LET BANK OFFER BRIDGE LOANS

JAPAN MAY LET BANK OFFER BRIDGE LOANS

The Export-Import Bank of Japan likely will get the ability to provide emergency, bridge financing to countries facing debt crises, government sources said Tuesday.

The bank already provides long-term financing for development projects.One of the immediate potential beneficiaries of such a move would be the republics of the former Soviet Union and eastern European countries, a government source said.

Initial approval for the revision could come as early as next month from the Ministry of Finance, said a source close to the government-financed development bank. Then the proposal must be taken to the Diet, Japan's parliament, for formal approval.

A ministry official confirmed that the government is studying revisions to the Export-Import Bank's charter and is likely to approve the change to

allow the bank to provide bridge financing.