The government will pay about $100 million for a fund proposed by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to promote the international crusade against AIDS, government sources said Sunday.
The sources said Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who has vowed to make “appropriate” financial contributions to the proposed fund, will announce the payment during his meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush later this month.
Japan will be the third major industrialized country to pledge financial contributions to the AIDS fund after the United States and France, the sources said.
Koizumi and Bush will hold their first summit at Camp David, Md., on June 30. The U.S. visit will be Koizumi’s first overseas trip since taking office in late April.
Japanese-U.S. security and the slumping Japanese economy are expected to top the agenda at Camp David.
The two leaders are expected to reaffirm the importance of the Japanese-U.S. security alliance. Koizumi is also expected to explain his blueprint for turning around the Japanese economy. The plan was adopted Thursday.
Koizumi and Bush are also expected to exchange views on an upcoming annual summit of top leaders from the Group of Eight major countries in the Italian port city of Genoa, during which the U.N.-proposed AIDS fund is expected to be highlighted.
The three-day summit of top leaders from the G8 countries — the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Russia — will begin on July 20.
Koizumi had been expected to announce the amount of Japanese financial contributions to the U.N.-proposed AIDS fund at the G8 summit in Genoa.
But instead, Koizumi has opted to announce it during his talks with Bush in order to demonstrate how closely the two countries are willing to work together toward addressing the issue, the sources said.
Bush became the first G8 leader to pledge financial contributions to the AIDS fund. He vowed to contribute $200 million for the fund when he greeted U.N. Secretary General Annan and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo at the White House in May.
So far, France is the only other G8 country that has pledged money. France has announced that it will contribute about $120 million to the AIDS fund.
Nigerian President Obasanjo visited Tokyo in late May after meeting Bush in the White House and urged Koizumi to follow the example of the U.S. and contribute to the AIDS fund. Koizumi told Obasanjo that Japan would make “appropriate” contributions but did not give a specific amount at the time.
A three-day special U.N. session on AIDS that will open in New York today is expected to adopt a political resolution calling for the establishment of the AIDS fund. But details of the fund, including its management and operations, will be left to the G8 leaders gathering in Genoa.
Annan has said that he is hoping to secure at least $1 billion in the short term for the core part of the fund and eventually between $7 billion and $10 billion from the international community, including private businesses and nongovernmental organizations.
According to the U.N., some 36 million people worldwide are suffering from AIDS, and nearly 70 percent of them live in the heavily impoverished sub-Saharan Africa, where AIDS medicine is too costly and unaffordable for most. The number of people killed by AIDS reached a record 3 million last year.
At the last G8 summit, held in Okinawa, Japan unveiled an aid initiative under which a total of $3 billion in official development assistance will be provided over five years to help developing countries combat infectious diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.