Golden Week holiday lacks luster for small businesses
Nikkei -- Apr 27
As most Japanese eagerly await the annual Golden Week holiday that begins on Saturday, small business owners are scrambling to figure out how to survive the longer-than-usual break as many banks and financial services will be shuttered for 10 days.

Miyuki Nakakura, manager of a small cafe in central Tokyo, says she will have to wait to collect the roughly 400,000 yen ($3,573) weekly payment for her food delivery services, which comprise a significant part of the company's earnings.

The 32-year-old Nakakura uses Uber Eats, an online food delivery platform based in San Francisco. Uber typically pays out each Tuesday for the preceding week's sales. But the long holiday means Nakakura will not see her funds for end-of-April sales until after the holiday on May 7 -- about a two-week wait.

Golden Week was extended this year to include celebrations for the Imperial succession, shuttering banks, government offices and most large companies. It is a welcome break for most of the country but a nervous time for cash-strapped smaller businesses.

The majority of international bank transactions go through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication network, or SWIFT. Uber Eats is no exception, making payments to Japanese banks even over holidays. Since remittances are processed during business hours, however, Uber Eats' Japanese merchants -- more than 8,500 --- will be in for a long wait.

Shop owner Miyuki Nakakura needs to obtain a small loan to see her business through this year's 10-day Golden Week.

Nakakura hopes to get a 400,000 yen online bridge loan from Japan Net Bank to pay the 1.5 million yen in salaries and rent due around the end of the month.

Shops that rely on credit cards for inventory purchases could also feel strapped if due dates for payables fall on nonbusiness days, since credit limits will not reset until payments are recorded.

The Japanese Bankers Association has a 24-hour remittance system, but only for transactions up to 100 million yen. Moreover, it does not cover salary payments.

News source: Nikkei
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