Photo/Illutration A woman wearing a face mask walks in a Tokyo business district on May 7. (AP Photo)

More than 40 percent of startups in Japan face possible bankruptcy within half a year as investments have dried up during the novel coronavirus epidemic, according to a business survey.

Tokyo-based Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support Co. said May 18 that its survey of 374 startups found that 42 percent of them expect their funds will be depleted in less than six months from May.

Only 57 percent of the startups said they have raised capital in 2020, and 68 percent of them said that gaining investments has been difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Venture capital companies, a prime source of funding for startups, are now extremely cautious about investing because the virus has spread and hammered the economy.

“We need to take measures to support startup companies because they will play roles in the economy and employment situation after the coronavirus is contained,” Yuma Saito, president of Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support, said. “Otherwise, the unemployment rate will increase, and the Japanese economy won’t be growing further.”

(This article was written by Yuriko Suzuki and Shuhei Shibata.)