Staff writer

Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi will unveil a plan next week to establish a multimillion-dollar fund aimed at stepping up cooperation between Japan and its Asian neighbors to ensure human security in the region, government sources said Wednesday.

The sources said that although the government has not yet nailed down the exact amount of the “human security fund,” the figure is likely to be around $5 million.

Obuchi will also announce next week a decision to include Vietnam on a list of economically troubled Asian countries entitled to receive Japanese loans, loan guarantees and various assistance measures under the $30 billion rescue package announced at the end of September by Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, the sources said.

The sources said that the plan to set up the human security fund will be announced at a meeting between Obuchi and his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Hanoi on Wednesday. ASEAN comprises Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

The new fund is designed to cope with the growing threat to human lives posed by such problems as terrorism, drug abuse and environmental destruction.

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