ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said Wednesday that Japan is considering the resumption of yen-loan assistance to Pakistan, suspended since Pakistan’s nuclear weapon tests in May 1998.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, Kawaguchi said Japan greatly appreciates efforts being made by Pakistan to stop international terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation and will consider the request by Pakistan to resume the loans.
Japan was Pakistan’s biggest bilateral donor and provided an average $500 million in economic assistance during the 1990s, up until the 1998 suspension.
“We feel the role Pakistan is playing in fighting terrorism and nuclear proliferation cannot be replaced by any other country,” she said. “We are grateful for the role Pakistan is playing for peace and stability, not only for the region but for the whole world.”
The guidelines governing Japan’s official development assistance state that while offering economic assistance, the government should give consideration to the activities of recipient countries with regards to nuclear arms buildup and democratic institutions.
Kawaguchi said she was satisfied with the information provided to Japan on Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan’s disgraced nuclear scientist.
“We have been asking Pakistan to provide us with information,” Kawaguchi said. “Pakistan has been doing it. We expect the cooperation to continue.”
Kasuri said Pakistan was conscious of Japan’s security concerns and its position on nuclear proliferation and was keeping Japan fully informed about steps being taken by Pakistan to check the buildup of nuclear weapons.
Cambodia promised aid
Japan will extend up to 2.77 billion yen in aid to Cambodia to help remove land mines and fight infectious diseases, the government said Wednesday.
Of the amount, up to 1.76 billion yen will be used to purchase equipment to remove land mines planted during the civil war that lasted more than 20 years.