Nearly 60 percent of small and midsize companies say they can survive the new coronavirus outbreak and related business shutdowns if the pandemic ends in the next few months, a recent survey by an insurance company showed Sunday.
According to a survey in late March by NN Life Insurance Co., 20.3 percent said they can weather the impact of the virus if the spread is stamped out by the end of this month.
Other answers include their business will survive if the outbreak finishes by the end of May at 16.6 percent and by the end of June at 15.5 percent, while 7.1 percent said the virus spread must stop by the end of March in order to survive.
The survey, meanwhile, found 24.2 percent said their business will not be affected even if the virus spread continues into 2021 onward.
The survey was conducted before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures and then nationwide this month. Over 14,000 infection cases have been confirmed in Japan, including about 700 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo in February. More than 380 infected people have died.
The declaration, effective until May 6, prompted prefectural governors to make or plan to make requests for avoiding nonessential outings and for business suspensions. It is unclear whether the declaration will be lifted on that day.
Such requests and travel restrictions took a heavy toll on a broad range of businesses including the restaurant and tourism sectors, raising concerns over a cash crunch among small companies.
The survey also showed that 25.2 percent said they are in urgent need of cash.
To mitigate the impact of the virus spread on their businesses, the government launched zero-interest loans for small and midsize companies.
Japan's Cabinet also approved an emergency economic package including subsidies of up to 2 million yen ($18,600) for small companies seeing a sharp revenue drop due to the epidemic.
The online poll was conducted between March 27 and 31 with responses from 7,228 people who manage companies with 300 employees or less.