Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan will set up a new $50 billion framework to help finance state-of-the-art infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific region, a move aimed at countering China’s growing economic influence, as per news reports.
Under the framework, the state-backed Japan Bank for International Cooperation will make investments and provide loans using public and private-sector funds over the next three years. “We hope this will be of some help to building high-quality infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific region,” Abe told international leaders gathered in Tokyo for a conference on the future of Asia.
The Abe administration has encouraged such projects in the hope of promoting exports of Japanese technology such as high-speed trains. This puts it in competition with China, which is seeking to increase its presence in the region through President Xi Jinping’s “One Belt, One Road” cross-border infrastructure initiative.
“High-quality infrastructure, when viewed not just in terms of initial costs but lifetime costs, actually end up being cheaper,” said Abe, who had just returned from a Group of Seven summit in Canada.
Abe also said Japan will set up a new educational program to help government officials from other countries to acquire graduate degrees. Through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Japan hopes to host 2,000 officials per year by 2023, with around 60 percent from Asian countries.