• Kyodo


Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso will travel to Myanmar on Wednesday to hold talks with President Thein Sein, sources said.

Aso, who also serves as Finance Minister, is scheduled to meet with Myanmar’s leader Thursday in the capital, Naypyitaw, in the first overseas trip by a member of the Cabinet launched last week by new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the sources said Friday.

Aso’s trip is intended to bolster relations with the rapidly emerging country and help Japanese companies make inroads into its expanding economy, and may also include a meeting with Finance and Revenue Minister Win Shein, they said.

In his talks with Thein Sein, Aso is expected to praise the democratization and economic liberalization efforts of Myanmar’s reformist government following years of oppressive military rule, and to relay the Abe administration’s plan to actively support the country’s continued development, the sources said.

Thein Sein, meanwhile, is expected to congratulate Aso over his Liberal Democratic Party’s Lower House election triumph Dec. 16 and to welcome Abe’s newly formed government, while reaffirming the need to strengthen bilateral ties, they said.

On Friday, Aso will visit the Tirawa special economic zone on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital, and confer with officials from both local and Japanese companies. He also plans to stop by a cemetery where Imperial army soldiers who died during the war are interred.

He is scheduled to return to Tokyo next Saturday.

Japan has said it will write off in January the mountain of debt it is owed by Myanmar and lend Naypyitaw a fresh ¥50 billion under highly favorable terms at the earliest opportunity in the new year.

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