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Although the amount of Japan’s official development assistance is on the decline, such aid will continue to play an important role in combating environmental destruction and poverty in developing countries, an ODA white paper released Oct. 3 says.Japan needs to aggressively tackle these issues through disbursement of aid, because stabilizing world order by resolving such problems will serve the national interest, the Foreign Ministry said in the annual report.In some Asian developing countries, air and water pollution is becoming a serious problem as the drive to industrialize continues in the absence of sufficient measures to protect the environment. Japan’s ODA should help promote such measures in these countries, the white paper says. Special attention should be paid to environmental protection in China, where energy consumption is growing substantially along with economic development, it says.Japan’s cooperation on environmental protection measures in China will be promoted based on an agreement on bilateral cooperation toward the 21st century between Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and his Chinese counterpart Li Peng signed in early September, the white paper says.Japan, for example, will help set up an information network on the environment in 100 cities across China and develop human resources to operate the network, according to the report. Countries lagging in economic development are meanwhile also grappling with poverty and population growth, which in turn causes environmental destruction as forests are converted into agricultural fields for increased food production, according to the report.Promoting development through Japan’s ODA will help prevent such deforestation in those countries, according to the white paper.

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