Japan to pledge ¥300 billion in aid to ASEAN for disaster prevention

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to announce at a regional summit this weekend that Japan will extend ¥300 billion in official development assistance over a five-year period to boost the disaster management framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, an official said.

Abe will unveil the aid during the Japan-ASEAN summit in Tokyo that starts Friday to demonstrate Japanese commitment to the fast-growing region in a bid to counter China’s rising influence there.

The aid will center on building infrastructure and training for around 1,000 disaster experts, drawing lessons from Haiyan, the powerful typhoon that hit the central Philippines hard in November, the source said Thursday.

Abe also plans to pledge ¥20 billion in ODA to promote cultural exchanges with ASEAN, including promoting Japanese-language education in its member countries, the source said.

The assistance will be reflected in a document to be adopted at the summit to map out a vision of Japan’s future ties with Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Other forms of assistance include providing ¥8 billion to a fund for creating the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015, the source said.

Japan and ASEAN will also provide meteorological data to help prepare ASEAN countries in the event of disasters and consider setting up a dialogue framework for their disaster experts.

As for bilateral talks with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Friday, Abe is expected to announce that Japan will provide about ¥6.5 billion to help the country deal with the aftermath of the typhoon, the source said.