Myanmar back on ODA radar


Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was expected to tell Myanmar President Thein Sein in their talks Friday evening that Tokyo will resume providing official development assistance in view of the Southeast Asian country’s political reforms, Japanese officials said.

Noda is expected to convey the intent to resume ODA during his meeting with Thein Sein on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, on the sidelines of regional summits there involving the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its dialogue partners.

It is the first time in two years for the two countries’ top leaders to meet.

Noda is expected to praise Thein Sein’s efforts on democratization and national reconciliation, and convey Japan’s readiness to support Myanmar in making more progress in that aspect, the officials said.

Japan has frozen all official aid to Myanmar, other than humanitarian aid, since 2003 when democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was put under house arrest.

Myanmar inaugurated a civilian government in March following general elections held last November, and the new government has eased censorship and released political prisoners.

It has also paved the way for the opposition National League for Democracy led by Suu Kyi to take part in political activities.

Yingluck flood help

Nusa Dua, Indonesia

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda asked Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday to help facilitate the early resumption of operations of Japanese firms affected by the massive flooding in Thailand, a Japanese official said.