Toyota has already stepped up and asked the Japanese government for a $2 billion loan to shore up its U.S. lending arm, Toyota Motor Credit Corp. We've also heard that Honda may do the same. Add Nissan and Mazda to the list now. The four biggest Japanese automakers will now all likely ask for government loans to help ensure that sufficient credit is available for U.S. customers to purchase their cars and trucks. While all four have seen sales fall less sharply than General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, each is still experiencing historically low sales in their biggest market: the U.S. Fortunately, the Japanese government has a lot of cash lying around, around $1 trillion in a foreign currency stockpile. About $5 billion has been earmarked and can be funneled through the nation's state-backed bank, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. Only Toyota has officially requested loans, but Nissan, Honda and Mazda have all confirmed they will apply if the money's available.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd | Photo by NICHOLAS RATZENBOECK/AFP/Getty]

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