Visiting World Bank President James Wolfensohn urged Japan on Thursday not to make significant cuts in its foreign aid, because peace and economic opportunities created by the assistance also benefit the donor.

“I fully understand that they have had to cut back a bit at this moment because of domestic pressures,” Wolfensohn said at a news conference at a Tokyo hotel. “I don’t think it’s in Japan’s interests to cut back too much.”

Wolfensohn argued it would be in Japan’s economic interests to maintain a certain level of official development assistance, because it would create opportunities in exports and direct investment.

The government is planning a 5.8 percent cut in its ODA for the fiscal year beginning in April, marking the fourth straight year of reduction in a bid to fix the nation’s debt-ridden finances.

Wolfensohn also urged Japan to act on its promised reform programs, saying the problem is not the prescription for fixing its economy, which is already in place, but the implementation of the plan.

Wolfensohn was to leave Japan on Friday after four days of talks with government, business and social leaders.

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.