HORSHAM, England (Kyodo) Japan will launch a $5 billion lending facility to help developing countries improve water, solar power and other environmental infrastructure.

The program was unveiled by Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano during a two-day meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers that wrapped up in Horsham, south of London, on Saturday.

Flows of private-sector funds to developing nations are plunging due to the global financial crisis. The government hopes to spur investment by private-sector banks by having public financial institutions participate.

Tokyo will provide $5 billion over the next two years through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation for big private-sector projects.

It also plans to supply syndicated loans with the Asian Development Bank and the International Finance Corp., an arm of the World Bank Group.

Yosano said Japan is eager to play a role in helping the world out of the deepening economic crisis.

“The best contribution we, the second biggest economy in terms of GDP, can make to the world economy is to help conquer the economic and financial crisis as soon as possible and ensure medium- to long-term growth,” Yosano said.

He said the immediate task for Tokyo is to pass the fiscal 2009 budget and relevant bills as soon as possible.

Another priority, he said, is for the public sector to help companies meet their financing needs ahead of their March 31 book closing through policy funding measures.

Yosano expressed hope that the ruling bloc will quickly come up with additional stimulus measures in accordance with Prime Minister Taro Aso’s recent instructions.

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