Mekong nations to focus $7.4 bln Japanese aid on environment

April 23, 2012

Japan is planning to pump 600 billion yen (USD7.4 billion) into developing infrastructure in countries along the Mekong River, much of which will be aimed at clean energy and climate change projects.

News agencies reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with the leaders of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar today in Tokyo, and expressed appreciation for their self-help efforts, according to an official statement issued after the summit.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen committed their nations to use the Japanese aid efficiently and effectively to develop infrastructure that will contribute to economic activity and help ensure basic human needs, according to the statement.

Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in December agreed to ask the Japanese government to help assess the impact of planned hydropower dams along the Mekong. Laos agreed to suspend construction of a USD3.7 billion dam on concern the project would hurt fisheries and rice cultivation downstream.

The leaders also agreed to cooperate on disaster management, and continue efforts on environmental and climate change issues.