¥510 million loans to Mali forgiven

Kyodo

Japan has forgiven around ¥510 million in loans to Mali in connection with past concessional rice sales to the African country, agriculture minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told a news conference Tuesday.

The government took the action as requested by Mali after legislation was enacted earlier this year.

Japan will take the same action in relation to four other African countries as soon as their requests are received.

The four countries are Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania and Sierra Leone. All those countries are in dire financial straits.

The Japanese government sold 380,000 tons of rice on concessional terms to the five African countries around 1980 and agreed in 1999 to forgive all concessional loans to the countries, including those related to the rice sales.

But the government failed to follow through in the absence of domestic legislation for such action.

Fearing the Japanese loans could affect the five African countries’ ability to borrow from international organizations, the government asked the Diet to enact the legislation.