Friday, May 23, 2008

Japan pledges to extend $200 million in aid for Sudan in the next four years

Earlier this month Japan pledged to extend $200 million in aid for Sudan in the next four years.

Tokyo is eager to take part in U.N. operations in Sudan in an effort to back up its long-running ambition to win a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Resource-poor Japan, which hosts a conference of 45 African nations next week, wants to play a higher-profile role in the resource-rich region ahead of the G8 summit on the northern island of Hokkaido in July.

"Apart from a permanent seat in the U.N. Security Council, Japan must look at what other countries, particularly China and India, are doing in Africa now," the second official said. "Unless we do something, we will certainly be left behind."

As part of its effort to win the hearts and minds of Africans, Japan announced on Tuesday a plan to double annual foreign aid to Africa by 2012 despite budget constraints caused by the country's bulging public debt.

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