Japan planning to offer nearly $1bn in loans, says news agency

Japan is planning to offer Myanmar loans totalling ¥100 billion (about K1.19 trillion, or US$995 million) for infrastructure development, Kyodo reported on August 26, quoting a Japanese government source.

The offer, if confirmed, would be the first to Myanmar from Japan since the National League for Democracy government took office in March, the newsagency said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to announce the offer early next month when he attends a series of regional meetings being hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the source said.

Japan was eager to provide assistance to Myanmar as part of a strategy to counter China’s influence, the report said.

The yen loans were expected to be used on projects such as upgrading the railway between Yangon and Mandalay, Myanmar’s two largest cities, the source said.

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China’s President Xi Jinping had touched on infrastructure development in Myanmar when he met Suu Kyi in Beijing on August 19, Kyodo said in the report, that made no mention of the stalled Myitsone dam project.

The trip to China was Suu Kyi’s first outside Southeast Asia since the NLD government took office.

Suu Kyi is due to travel to the United States next month on a visit that will include a meeting with President Barack Obama. She is also expected to address the United Nations General Assembly.

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