• Kyodo

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Japan is vowing to increase official development assistance to Africa, especially for education and development in the sub-Saharan areas, according to the latest version of the ODA white paper.

The aid report for fiscal 2013, to be released by the Foreign Ministry later this month, says that promoting stable growth in Africa serves Japan’s interests.

With China extending extensive aid and increasing its clout on the continent, the focus on helping Africa reflects Japan’s desire to stop African countries from supporting Beijing with the votes they cast in international organizations like the United Nations.

The paper says Japan pays close attention to Africa because it is rich in natural resources and is showing significant economic growth. Africa also requires international aid to help people get out of poverty, it says.

According to the paper, Japan extended $1.71 billion (about ¥175.4 billion) in ODA to sub-Saharan Africa including Tanzania and South Sudan in 2012.

Aid to the Middle East and northern Africa came to $1.49 billion, with $900 million of that allocated to Afghanistan.

Japan’s ODA totaled about $10.64 billion in 2012, ranking fifth after the United States, Britain, Germany and France.

Along with Africa, Japan will continue giving assistance to Southeast Asia to facilitate investment by Japanese companies, the paper says.

Japan will increase cooperation to slowly democratizing Myanmar while monitoring its reform initiatives, it says.

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