• Kyodo

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The government should contribute to the cost of protecting aid workers involved in Tokyo-backed development projects in light of the deadly terrorist attack in Bangladesh last month that left seven Japanese dead, the Foreign Ministry says.

The measure, presented Tuesday, was among proposals included in a final report compiled by a ministry panel set up to mull ways to increase efforts to ensure the safety of Japanese aid workers and lessen the burden on small and midsize companies involved in such projects.

The panel included senior officials of the ministry, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and nongovernmental organizations.

“International cooperation is supported by the efforts of the people involved. The report lays out detailed measures to make sure nobody is left behind (in danger),” said Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida as he received the report from the panel Tuesday.

The minister also said a new division would be set up under its International Cooperation Bureau, which will focus on ensuring the safety of Japanese overseas.

According to the report, the government is set to negotiate with recipient governments so that in the case of yen-loans provided through JICA, rather than grant aid, safety costs would be included from the outset.

The government will also meet the costs of evacuating those involved in JICA-related projects when security conditions deteriorate, the report said. In a recent case, aid workers and nongovernment organization officials were extracted from South Sudan after violence surged in the country in July.

In compiling the safety measures, the panel emphasized providing support to small and midsize companies that have a limited capacity to respond to terrorist attacks and other threats.

The government has included ¥6.5 billion ($63.5 million) in a second draft supplementary budget for fiscal 2016 to finance satellite telephones, bulletproof vehicles and other equipment to strengthen security at Japanese embassies and local offices of JICA, and also for the capacity building of recipient government’s law enforcing authorities.

Japan will also nurture a safety mindset by sharing JICA’s conduct manual with small and midsize companies, and nongovernmental organizations amid growing terrorist attacks on soft targets.

The terrorist attack in Dhaka in July killed 20 people, including seven Japanese involved in a project for JICA, which conducts projects in developing countries financed by Japanese aid.

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