Japan and China on Wednesday agreed to begin a joint study on developing an information infrastructure in China with Japanese technology, according to officials of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

The agreement was made during a meeting in Tokyo between Trade Minister Kaoru Yosano and Zeng Peiyan, China’s minister of the state development and planning commission, who is accompanying visiting Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

The two ministers agreed that the Japanese government and private sector will cooperate with China in forging model projects for vital information networks in China with the use of Japan’s multimedia technologies. The study would continue through 2002.

The information projects are designed to help boost social infrastructure in China, covering physical distribution, remote education, agriculture, disaster-prevention, remote health care and environment.

The cost of the project, estimated between 2 billion yen and 3 billion yen, will be covered by Japan’s official development assistance, Japanese companies and China, they said.

The two sides will develop details of the information deal as well as other areas of cooperation concerning energy, environment, inland development as well as a planned express railway linking Beijing and Shanghai on Dec. 2, the date of a vice ministerial-level meeting in Tokyo, the MITI officials said.

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