• Kyodo

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Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said Tuesday various international entities, including a newly created Chinese-led investment bank, are a welcome addition to infrastructure building in Asia amid the region’s robust demand.

Speaking in Yokohama, Kuroda said it is “good” that the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is often cast as a rival to the Japanese- and U.S.-led regional development bank, has attracted many members from Asia and beyond.

“It’s simply not possible for the ADB and the World Bank to fill the gap completely (in infrastructure development in Asia),” Kuroda said during a question-and-answer session after his speech.

Kuroda, who ran the ADB before his tenure at the BOJ, said healthy competition among various players is “positive” for infrastructure development and economic growth.

With 67 member states and regions, the ADB has a long history of helping developing countries in Asia build infrastructure through such means as loans. The AIIB’s membership has also expanded to 70, outstripping that of the ADB, while Japan and the United States have not joined the initiative.

He made the remarks at a gathering of think tanks organized by the Asian Development Bank Institute ahead of the 50th annual meeting of the ADB later this week in Yokohama to discuss ways to make economic growth more inclusive and bridge the large gap in infrastructure development.

In his speech, Kuroda said making sure households and companies have access to financial services is the key to tackling the “stubborn” issue of poverty in developing Asia. He called on policymakers to eliminate obstacles to what is often referred to as financial inclusiveness.

“We need to enhance the inclusiveness of Asia’s economic growth, and financial inclusion can play an important role in tackling the stubborn poverty problem,” Kuroda said.

“Advances in information and communication technology, or ICT, have the potential to help financial inclusion continue to expand in developing Asia, in some cases beyond traditional banks,” the BOJ governor said.

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