• Kyodo News

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The Foreign Ministry said Thursday it plans to request ¥436.96 billion for foreign aid in its fiscal 2011 budget, up 5.7 percent from the initial budget for fiscal 2010, in a bid to curb the declining trend of the nation’s official development assistance.

The overall budget request totals ¥648.7 billion for the year starting next April, down 1 percent from the initial fiscal 2010 budget, and features increased outlays to promote Japanese pop culture abroad, and infrastructure and environmental technology exports to spur the nation’s growth.

The budget plan also includes spending for the launch of diplomatic missions to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Jakarta as well as in Djibouti and the Chinese city of Xian.

In 2009, Japan ranked fifth in terms of ODA spending by industrialized countries, following the United States, France, Germany and Britain, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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