• Kyodo

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Japan is undertaking a range of efforts to help developing nations fight terrorism amid rising extremism and will step up these efforts in cooperation with the international community, the government said in its annual report on foreign aid released Tuesday.

The government’s pledge to strengthen counterterrorism efforts follows a spate of deadly incidents last year, including the attack on a restaurant in Bangladesh in July that left 20 hostages dead, including seven Japanese nationals.

Last July, during a U.N. Security Council meeting, Japan pledged $120 million in assistance for African nations to strengthen their counterterrorism capacities, part of its push to help build a lasting peace on the continent.

To beef up border controls, Japan has offered its expertise in biometrics and detection of explosives, in addition to conducting seminars for public security officials in developing countries, the Foreign Ministry’s latest white paper on official development assistance (ODA) said.

Amid China’s rising assertiveness in the South and East China seas, Japan will continue to help bolster the surveillance capabilities of Southeast Asian nations. This will include offering patrol vessels to maintain maritime security in vital sea lanes, the paper said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged earlier this year to provide Vietnam with six patrol vessels to aid its maritime safety efforts. Vietnam is one of several Southeast Asian nations embroiled in a territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.

Japan is also preparing to offer two large patrol vessels to the Philippines, another claimant in the strategic waterway.

To promote the rule of law, Japan will “ceaselessly” offer support to Southeast Asian countries to strengthen their law enforcement capabilities, it said.

As part of Abe’s initiative, Japan will also continue to support developing nations through exports of “high-quality” infrastructure using ODA, the paper said.

Such “high-quality” infrastructure is expected to lead to job creation and the transfer of expertise and know-how to recipient countries, Japanese officials said.

In 2015, Tokyo’s ODA totaled about $15.03 billion, down 5.6 percent from the previous year and ranking fourth worldwide after the United States, Germany and Britain.

Southeast Asian nations are among the key recipients of Japan’s development aid.

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