The Inter-American Development Bank will hold its annual meeting in Okinawa from Sunday.
The main theme will be finding ways to spur development in Latin American and Caribbean economies, and boost trade and investment between the region and Asia.
The three-day meeting, to be chaired by Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, will bring together financial leaders from the 47 member countries of the Washington-based organization. Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras and the Dominican Republic will be represented by their presidents.
Bank of Japan Gov. Toshihiko Fukui will also attend the gathering, to be held in the city of Ginowan.
Crown Prince Naruhito, who will be visiting Okinawa from Friday through Sunday, will attend the opening ceremony. The last time Japan hosted the IDB annual meeting was the 1991 meeting in Nagoya.
“Latin America, which had relied heavily on the United States for its development, has begun paying attention to Asia, given its rapid growth and rising demand for Latin American commodities,” said Hiroshi Watanabe, vice finance minister for international affairs.
“It is appropriate for Japan to hold an IDB meeting in Okinawa — a crossroad for Asian trade — as the prefecture shares over 100 years of emigration experience with Latin America and the Caribbean,” Watanabe said, expressing Japan’s willingness to exert leadership in upgrading interregional relations.
Latin America has 240,000 people of Okinawan descent, while Japan has about 350,000 residents — mostly ethnic Japanese — who emigrated from Latin America.
South Korea will debut at the IDB annual meeting in Okinawa after joining the bank on March 16 as the second Asian member, following Japan. Representatives from the United States, Canada, Israel and European nations will also take part.
Japan has contributed a 5 percent share to the IDB, the second-biggest by country, following the United States with a 30 percent share.
The Okinawa gathering will be preceded by a series of seminars and other activities, beginning Wednesday, on development issues involving Latin America and the Caribbean as well as Asia.
During the ministerial meeting starting Sunday, IDB member states will consider strengthening the private sector, especially small and midsize companies, in Central and South America and the Caribbean, while focusing on lowering charges for fund remittances to the area from developed countries such as Japan, the organizers said.
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