Business

Japan, G-7 partners Germany, France, Italy plan close coordination over China-led Asian Infrastruture Inestment Bank

by Kakumi Kobayashi

Kyodo

Japan agreed with Germany, France and Italy on Tuesday to work closely to handle issues related to a planned China-led new development bank although there is no change in Tokyo’s cautiousness about joining it, Japanese officials said.

“We agreed that governance is important,” Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters regarding the results of discussions with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, in which Berlin is participating.

Kishida and a Japanese government official who briefed reporters on the meeting with Steinmeier did not elaborate but the Japanese government has called for fair and transparent governance of the envisioned bank.

Germany, France and Italy are among major economies that have signed up for the AIIB along with another G-7 member, Britain.

Kishida indicated he explained to Steinmeier the position that Japan has opted not to take part in the proposed lending institution, which is expected to be established by the end of this year, due to questions including whether it will have a system that can guarantee fair governance.

Kishida and Steinmeier met on the sidelines of the Group of Seven foreign ministerial talks, which began in the northern German city of Lubeck on Tuesday.

Kishida agreed with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni to collaborate over the AIIB during separate meetings, according to the Japanese official.

The Japanese official said both Fabius and Gentiloni told Kishida that France and Italy fully understand Japan’s concerns over the AIIB.

China said Tuesday the number of participating countries has reached 50. Beijing said it is trying to decide by the end of June details about the operations, such as the stake each member would chip in.

Kishida said Japan and the European Union agreed to hold the next round of bilateral summits on May 29 in Tokyo during a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on the G-7 fringes.

Kishida said he and Mogherini, EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, agreed to speed up negotiation for signing a free trade agreement.