(Bloomberg) -- Japanese consumer lender Aiful Corp. sold bonds with the world’s lowest coupon for a junk-rated issuer this year, as record low rates amid the pandemic redefine what high yield means.Aiful priced 15 billion yen ($144 million) of 1.5-year notes with a coupon of 1%, according to Nomura Securities Co., one of the underwriters. It’s the second-ever junk bond offered publicly in Japan’s local credit market, after Aiful priced the first such security last year at a lower coupon at 0.99%.Unprecedented stimulus from central banks around the world amid the pandemic has dragged down rates, and left investors clamoring for debt that may help increase returns. The average yield on high-yield bonds globally has fallen 85 basis points this year to an all-time low of 4.83%, according to a Bloomberg Barclays index.Aiful, which teetered on the edge of bankruptcy a decade ago, has speculative-grade scores from local credit rating firms.The lender’s junk debt offerings are still the exception that proves the rule in Japan, where companies haven’t felt compelled to sell speculative-grade notes as they’ve traditionally found it easy to obtain bank loans. Click here for more Aiful deal details.But investors have increasingly backed the development of a high-yield debt market as monetary policy that’s set to stay accommodative globally makes the hunt for yield more acute.The growth of high-yield issuance would be beneficial to the economy because it allows a broader range of issuers to raise funds in the capital markets, a Financial Services Agency official said last year.Read more about Japan’s nascent junk bond market hereChallenges persist. Many investors have mandates that forbid them from purchasing junk bonds, for one thing.But there have been changes in recent years. Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s biggest pension fund, revised investment guidelines in 2018 to include the buying of local debt rated below BBB.“We would like to continue selling bonds while determining the best timing,” said Kinya Numata, manager at Aiful’s finance department.(Adds background throughout)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.