Japan planning $885m aid offer to next govt

By SEAN GLEESON | FRONTIER

YANGON — Japan is preparing to offer more than US$885 million in loans and grants to Myanmar after a request from the incoming government, according to a report in the Japan Times.

Monday’s report quoted a government source who said the Abe government hoped to compile a detailed plan by the middle of the year to facilitate a boost in its official development assistance program in Myanmar, soon after the National League for Democracy government takes power in April.

The disbursements are expected to focus on improving electricity generation and transport networks in the Yangon area, according to the Japan Times.

Japan has one of the highest foreign aid budgets in the world, more than half of which is allocated to development assistance in Southeast Asia, and is Myanmar’s single largest bilateral donor. The Japan International Cooperation Agency, which has been involved in drafting urban expansion and transport plans in Yangon, also has a minority stake in Yangon’s Thilawa Special Economic Zone alongside a number of other Japanese firms.

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In 2013, Japan provided Myanmar with $681 million in aid disbursements for communications, water supply, infrastructure and health projects, along with a further $1.7 billion in debt relief, according to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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