Japan to fund $110 bln into Asian infrastructure

Japan launches a new initiative on funding Asian infrastructure.

A new mechanism will be provided to fund projects with a relatively higher risk profile through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claimed that Japan, through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, and the Asian Development Bank, will supply more funding for infrastructure projects, with a higher risk profile, in order to meet Asia's "voracious infrastructure demand, reaching as much as 100 trillion yen, i.e. $830 annually".

"Until now, in the sphere of infrastructure finance, recipients of government payment guarantees for short-term risk have conventionally been requested somewhat excessively," said the Japanese PM. "The Government of Japan will challenge that convention."

"JBIC will actively take on short-term profit risk, thereby reforming the practice of asking local governments for guarantees."

Assistance from the Japanese government will amount to more than four trillion yen over four years, and will be aimed at assisting Asian countries which are developing infrastructure projects in partnership with the private sector.

The Manila-based ADB, in which Japan has the largest proportion of shares at 15.67 percent, is also considering a further capital increase, said Abe, having recently increased its loan capacity by 50 percent as part of efforts to expand lending to the private sector. In addition, a new funding mechanism for private sector infrastructure projects will increase the ADB's capacity for mobilizing capital to the private sector threefold, to also include equity investments.

In total the Japanese government in collaboration with the AIIB will provide Asia with innovative infrastructure financing at a scale of 110 billion dollars over five years.

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