Saturday, January 10, 2009
Japan to give 1.46 bil. yen fresh aid to Cambodia, Laos on FM visit
TOKYO, Jan. 10 (AP) - (Kyodo)—Japan will provide 1.2 billion yen of grant aid to Laos for poverty reduction and up to 255 million yen to Cambodia for a dam project and infectious disease control when Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone visits the two nations on Sunday, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Friday. Nakasone is set to sign exchanges of notes for the respective projects with his Laotian counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith and Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong during his trip. He will also attend a ceremony to deliver three Japan-made demining tractors in Cambodia.
The assistance for Laos will be earmarked for purchasing fuel, construction materials and other necessary items for stabilizing the economy, the ministry said.
Japan hopes the aid will help boost the Laotian economy, which is suffering from significant annual fiscal deficits mainly due to heavy dependence on imports of essential goods.
For Cambodia, the grant will be used partly to upgrade two apparatuses for controlling the flow of water along the Prek Thnot River with the hope of securing irrigation water for some 12,000 farmers in the Roleang Chrey area.
The aid will also be allocated to secure measles vaccines as well as necessary storage equipment and is expected to benefit about 2 million children under age five, the ministry said.
Nakasone will visit Cambodia and Laos over the weekend to strengthen Japan's bilateral relations with the two nations as well as coordinate responses amid the global financial crisis. He also hopes to promote cooperation in the Mekong region on the whole.
The foreign minister is scheduled to stop over in Bangkok on Saturday for talks with Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya to discuss measures to tackle the economic crisis on his way to Cambodia, ministry officials said.
Japan and the Mekong region nations, which comprises Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, celebrate the Mekong-Japan Exchange Year this year.