Friday, April 20, 2012

Burmese president leaves for Japan

Friday, 20 April 2012 12:43 Mizzima News

(Mizzima) – President Thein Sein left Naypyitaw on Thursday to begin a five-day official visit to Japan where he will also attend the 4th Mekong-Japan Summit and discuss financial loans, according to state-run radio and television.

Thein Sein will hold bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. It is expected that Japan will offer to restart development aid to the country and may waive repayment of a 300 billion yen (US$ 3.7 billion) debt, according to government spokesmen.

Thein Sein will also meet with Japanese foreign and economic ministers and businessmen in a bid to promote economic cooperation. His attendance at the Mekong-Japan summit will be his second, following the last summit in Indonesia.

Burmese President Thein Sein attends the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China Summit in Nusa Dua in Indonesia's resort island of Bali in November 2011. Photo: AFP

Burma and Japan opened up new relations between the two countries following an official visit to Burma by Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba in late December 2011 for the first time since 2002.

According to government figures, Japan invested a total of $214.9 million as of November 2011 since 1988, ranking 12th among Burma’s foreign investors.

Japan signed memorandums of understanding with Burma involving investments in renewable energy and environmental conservation during talks in January.

Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano also met with Burmese officials to discuss the Dawei deep-sea port special industrial zone. Officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Japan Overseas Development Corporation (JODC) discussed investment deals in the giant special economic zone.
The MoUs involved investment cooperation between the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration and JETERO-Yangon (Rangoon) and Myanmar Rural Area Energy Development Committee and Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization ( NEDO).
Japan’s NEDO will cooperate with the Myanmar Rural Area Energy Development Committee in operating a renewable energy project and conducting training workshops on renewable energy and environmental conservation, according to reports.

On January 11, Burma’s Electric Power 2 Minister Khin Maung Soe and NEDO discussed details on how to cooperate in the projects.

NEDO said that Burma’s electricity consumption is three times higher now than 20 years ago. The Burmese government has a plan to get 15 to 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020, according to NEDO.
Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), which promotes human resources, training courses on wind turbine, small-scale hydroelectric power and solar energy, will undertake various training projects, Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) General-Secretary Myint Soe told Mizzima.

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