Japan announces more aid, loans to Burma

Japan announces more aid, loans to Burma

Coinciding with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to Burma this week, Japan has announced 1.6 billion yen (US$16m) in support for UN programmes in Burma.

Funds will assist UNHCR, UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP), according to a UN press release.

The contribution is part of an overall US$75.2 million aid package, which will also fund government projects such as hospital and railway infrastructure upgrades, according to state media.

The new aid package targets ethnic populations displaced by violence, including UNICEF deliveries of emergency food aid for children and pregnant women.

The money will also support UNHCR programmes for shelter, IDP camp management and services.

State media reported that Japan simultaneously announced another US$23.4 million in loans to the Burmese government, partially allocated to infrastructure for the Thilawa Special Economic Zone near Rangoon. Several Japanese car makers including Suzuki, Toyota and Mitsubishi are set to open factories in the deregulated zone.

Japan is Burma’s largest aid donor and has contributed US$1.5 billion since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December 2012.

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