$200 million for Palestinians mulled

Kyodo

Japan plans to provide about $200 million, or around ¥20.4 billion, in aid to the Palestine Authority as part of efforts to promote Middle East peace talks, a government source said.

The administration is apparently aiming to mend ties with the United States, following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in December by supporting U.S. efforts for Middle East peace ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to Japan in April.

In a rare move, the United States expressed disappointment over Abe’s visit.

The $200 million in aid will be used for Palestinian fiscal consolidation, as well as for roads and other infrastructure development, hospital construction and food aid, the source said Thursday.

Japan has provided a total of around $1.4 billion in aid to the Palestine Authority since 1993.

As human support measures, the government will expand its project to develop Palestinians’ human resources by asking Malaysia and Indonesia to accept Palestinian farming and tourism trainees, while Japan meanwhile will send its own trainers there.