Japan PM unveils $110-billion plan for Asian infrastructure

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech at the 21st International Conference of The Future of Asia in Tokyo on May 21, 2015. Abe announced a 110 billion USD investment plan for infrastructure projects in Asia through Japan-affiliated institutions, in an apparent counter to China's newly founded rival bank. Abe said in a speech in Tokyo that Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will boost their assistance by 30 percent to offer the massive investment aid under a five-year public-private partnership vision. AFP PHOTO

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech at the 21st International Conference of The Future of Asia in Tokyo on May 21, 2015. Abe announced a 110 billion USD investment plan for infrastructure projects in Asia through Japan-affiliated institutions, in an apparent counter to China’s newly founded rival bank. Abe said in a speech in Tokyo that Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will boost their assistance by 30 percent to offer the massive investment aid under a five-year public-private partnership vision. AFP PHOTO

TOKYO: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday a $110 billion investment plan for infrastructure projects in Asia in an apparent counter to China’s move to launch a new development bank.

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Abe said in a speech in Tokyo that Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will boost their assistance by 30 percent to offer the massive investment aid under a five-year public-private partnership vision.

“By attracting diverse funds, we hope to bring changes to Asia,” Abe said in prepared remarks, in the latest twist in the tussle for influence in the fast-growing region.

“In the long run, we’d like to spread quality infrastructure and innovative infrastructure in Asia,” Abe said, according to Kyodo News.

The sum is just slightly higher than the expected $100 billion capital of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that Beijing and more than 50 founding member states are establishing.

Japan and the United States were the biggest standouts earlier this year when Beijing began courting members for the AIIB.

Washington led a high-profile, and ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to dissuade allies from taking part in the project, which critics say will not demand the same good-governance and environmental standards imposed by other international bodies, such as the ADB, a long-established body in which Tokyo plays a key role.

But supporters say fears over undue Chinese influence are overblown, and that the participation by more than 50 countries, including ones as diverse as Britain and Iran, will dilute Beijing’s power.

Few observers doubt there is a need for billions of dollars of investment in infrastructure in Asia.

The region also offers rich opportunities for countries with strong infrastructure industries, like Japan.

But political and other risks in doing business in Asia have discouraged some businesses from making long-term investments.

AFP

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1 Comment

  1. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    21 May 2015

    Japan obviously does not want to be overshadowed by China in substantive ways to “make friends and influence” Asian nations. Now, obviously in reaction to China’s setting up the AIIB with an initial capitalization of $100 billion, Japan is putting up the slightly bigger amount of $110 billion also to meet Asia’s growing needs for much-needed infrastructure through the Asian Development Bank.

    The total amount now available to Asian countries for infrastructure is now $210 billion!

    This obvious competition for the hearts and minds of Asia between China and Japan–two of the wealthiest nations in the world now–can only prove quite beneficial to Asian countries which are now classified as “poor” like the Philippines.

    It behooves the Philippine Government to plan what it badly needs now in terms of big infrastructures and thus be among the first to take full advantage of the resources that will be made available by both the AIIB and the ADB.

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    Lapulapu1927@yahoo.com