Saturday, January 31, 2009

Japan pledges 17 billion in aid

During the World Economic Forum in Davos, Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso announced more aid for Asia. PM Aso pledges 17 billion dollars to help stimulate the economy in thecontinent.

IPS has the details of the speech that the prime minister made at the forum.

Aso said in a televised speech that the package from the world’s second largest economy would be provided as Official Development Assistance (ODA) for meeting challenges posed by the global economic crisis.

The offer represents a 20 percent increase in ODA to be implemented over a three-year period. Japan had slipped to fifth place from being the number one provider of overseas aid after former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi set in motion a plan in 2006 to reduce foreign aid by 2 - 4 percent every year until the budget was balanced by 2011.

Aso’s announcement augments other proposed measures that include an economic stimulus package of two percent of Japan’s GDP, a proposed loan of 100 billion dollars to the International Monetary Fund and the establishment of a fund to recapitalise banks in developing countries and reform internal financial institutions.

Aso ended his speech with one of his favourite quotes from the French philospher Alain, "Pessimism comes from our passions, optimism from the will."

Japan has a major role to play in world affairs at this critical moment, said Osamu Sakashita, deputy cabinet secretary for public relations, at a briefing in Tokyo on Friday.

Politicians rather than bankers are taking centre stage this year at Davos (Jan. 28 - Feb. 1), according to Sakashita. The theme of the meet ‘Shaping the Post-Crisis World’ where the world’s economy, poverty, climate change, and financial business are being discussed is revealing enough, according to him.

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