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DACCA (Kyodo) The Japan International Cooperation Agency is organizing group tours of its overseas activities in an apparent bid to improve its image after its work was criticized by a government reform term for not reflecting the needs of developing countries.

The first trip will be a weeklong tour of Bangladesh from March 5 to 11, local JICA sources said Sunday.

JICA has 80 volunteers working in Bangladesh and is teaming up with travel agency H.I.S. to coordinate the tours.

JICA sources said participants will have an opportunity to visit slums in the Bangladeshi capital Dacca and to talk with Japanese volunteer teachers and local students in the southern port city of Barisal and other JICA operation sites.

The tour will cost about ¥160,000.

JICA plans to arrange five or six such tours a year to other destinations, targeting youths and elderly Japanese who might be interested in working as JICA volunteers.

As part of Japan’s administrative review, administrative reformers under the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan concluded last November that JICA’s overseas activities do not reflect local needs and ordered the agency to review its operations.

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