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Posted on on January 13th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Jan. 13, 2008, The Japan Times, Kyodo News: Japan to give ¥6 billion in aid to four Mekong River nations – Former Indo-China’s Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Japan will provide a combined ¥6 billion in aid to four nations in the Mekong River region for various projects, including the construction of two highways that will traverse the Indochina Peninsula, government sources said Saturday. Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura will pledge the official development assistance to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam at a meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday, the sources said.

The meeting, the first of its kind, will bring together Komura’s counterparts from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos.

Japan wants to place emphasis on funneling ODA resources into the Mekong region, which has been lagging behind other Southeast Asian regions in economic development, they said. The aid is expected to help Japanese companies increase business activity in the Mekong.

The projects covered by the aid will include one to build two highways linking Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar that have been dubbed the “Indochina East-West Economic Corridors,” the sources said.

Japan plans to disburse ¥2.2 billion over the next three years to help the Mekong region build road transportation bases from which truck cargo can be shipped to various destinations, and to train local customs officials how to conduct proper customs procedures, they said.

Separately, Japan will provide ¥2.2 billion to help Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam build schools and power generation facilities for poor people in areas traversing the nations, the sources said.

Japan will also provide ¥1.7 billion to support Cambodian poverty-reduction efforts, the sources said.

Komura will hold bilateral talks with the foreign ministers of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos on Wednesday, and with the foreign ministers of Myanmar and Thailand on Thursday.

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