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Japan considers billion dollars of aid to Pakistan

(AFP) / 11 April 2009

TOKYO - Japan is considering providing up to one billion dollars in economic aid to Pakistan over the next two years, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

The Japanese government will reveal details of the planned aid in Tokyo on April 17 at a meeting of donors to be co-hosted by the World Bank, the Nikkei business daily said.

The assistance—a combination of yen loans and grants—is designed to help poverty-stricken areas of Pakistan that could become breeding grounds for terrorists, the newspaper said. Funds will also be used to build infrastructure and provide education and job training, it said.

Conference participants, including Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and US envoy Richard Holbrooke, are expected to agree on giving around four billion dollars in aid to Pakistan over a two-year period, the daily said.

Japan has sought to contribute to US-led efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan since US President Barack Obama’s administration reviewed its policies and appointed Holbrooke as regional envoy.

Japan, which has been officially pacifist since World War II, is hoping to expand its role in international security short of dispatching troops.

“We must show our strong commitment as the chair nation,” a Foreign Ministry official said, according to Nikkei.


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