• Kyodo

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Japan and the Philippines signed Wednesday a ¥50 billion ($465 million) loan agreement to help fund the Southeast Asian nation’s coronavirus response.

“This ¥50 billion loan seeks to help curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines and shore up the government’s emergency response and economic stimulus by providing budgetary support,” the Japanese Embassy said in a statement.

It said the COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan, which is the first of its kind for Japan, carries an annual interest rate of 0.01 percent, with a repayment period of 15 years including four-year grace period.

The budgetary support will be co-financed by the Asian Development Bank.

Eigo Azukizawa, the chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency in the Philippines, and Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, signed documents relating to the loan during a ceremony in Manila.

It comes just weeks after Japan on June 8 announced a ¥2 billion grant to provide Philippine hospitals and institutions with advanced medical equipment and to establish laboratory surveillance sites across the nation.

The Philippines has recorded 38,511 cases of COVID-19, with 1,270 deaths, according to figures released Wednesday.

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