Japan’s public and private sectors will contribute about 800 billion yens (US$7.73 billion) over five years to aid nation-building in the democratizing country, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Myanmar’s State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday.
“As a friend of Myanmar, Japan will give the new government our full support across the public and private sectors,” Abe said at the outset of the talks in Tokyo.
“I expect this to contribute to the country’s development,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said at a joint press conference after the meeting at the Akasaka Palace state guesthouse.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in Japan Tuesday for a five-day visit, her first visit to Asia’s second-largest economy since the pro-democracy party that she leads took power in March following a landmark election.
The State Counsellor expressed thanks to the Japanese government and the people, pledging that aid from Japan will be spent on the peace process, ensuring transparency.
She also thanked Japan to provide aid for the private investment sector, and asked for assistance in sectors including agriculture, transportation, electricity and human resources.
Japan’s prime minister said his country fully supported Myanmar’s transition to a modern democracy.”I want to reiterate my respect for the nation-building (you) are carrying out under the universal values we share — freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” Abe said, adding that Japan hopes to use Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit as an opportunity to “dramatically develop” bilateral ties.
“As we in Myanmar carve out a new page in our history, I believe that Japan will continue to walk side by side with us as a good friend and trustworthy partner,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi replied.
After the meeting, the two leaders also witnessed the signing of the Exchange of Notes for the dispatch of volunteers to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar under the Japan Overseas Volunteers Programme between the governments of Myanmar and Japan. The document was signed by Union Minister for Planning and Finance U Kyaw Win and Japanese Ambassador to Myanmar Tateshi Higuchi.
At an event with members of Japan’s Myanmar community earlier in the day, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said Myanmar’s economy “needs to be developed in every sector,” with a slowdown in global growth adding to the country’s economic difficulties.
“We need a lot of investment and many economic experts with fresh ideas,” the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said.
Japanese officials have described Myanmar as the “final frontier within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” citing its potential given its natural resources.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is scheduled to hold talks Wednesday morning with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Japanese officials said. Kishida is expected to flesh out offers of support made in the leaders’ talks.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi spoke to more than 1,000 people from Myanmar living in Japan at a hotel in Shinjuku District, admitting that her government is finding it hard to improve the country’s economy, with the global economic slowdown also contributing to the strain.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said “we have to double or even triple our efforts.”—Myanmar News Agency with Kyodo News