Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced Saturday that Japan will resume yen loans to Myanmar and cancel about 60 percent of the debt and overdue charges it is owed to assist the country’s recent moves toward democracy.

The announcement coincided with the first visit to Japan by a Myanmar head of state in 28 years, when the country was known as Burma. During a bilateral meeting with Myanmar President Thein Sein at the State Guest House in Tokyo, Noda welcomed the country’s recent steps toward democratization and promised continued support to improve the lives of its people.

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