MANILA, PHILIPPINES (11 January 2005) - Japan is to provide an additional US$20 million through its trust funds at ADB to support relief measures in areas devastated by the December earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese Minister of Finance, Sadakazu Tanigaki, announced today.
Speaking at ADB's headquarters in Manila, Mr. Tanigaki, who is also ADB's Governor for Japan, said that Japan will assist in reconstruction and rehabilitation works of affected countries in every possible way.
"Proactive and timely use of Japanese trust funds in the ADB should be encouraged," he said.
"In addition, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation has already started working with the ADB and the World Bank."
ADB's current financial commitment to the three countries that have requested its assistance - Indonesia, Maldives, and Sri Lanka - stands at an initial $675 million. This includes $500 million in new grants and highly concessional funds, and $175 million redirected from ongoing projects and programs.
In his speech on "The Asia and Pacific Region in the Coming Decade - Challenges in the Region, Japan's Commitments and Tasks for the Asian Development Bank," the Finance Minister congratulated ADB for its achievements in contributing to the region's development by responding to the various needs of its borrowing member countries.
He pointed out four "megatrends" that face the region:
- Globalization, which has forced the region's policymakers to think about how to sequence policies and institutional reforms in trade and capital transactions
- The expansion of regional cooperation to strengthen linkages among the economies of the region
- Urbanization and the various problems caused by the massive migration to urban areas, while striving to achieve balanced growth between city and rural areas and preserve the environment
- The demographic challenge of aging societies, which requires each government to take early policy actions to address the rising pressure on social security expenditures.
Even amid these megatrends, he said, the Asia and Pacific region is expected to be the heart of global development throughout this century if four challenges are overcome - poverty alleviation, infrastructure development, human resource development, and enhancing governance.
"I would like to add that political and social stability is a prerequisite for tackling these challenges," he said.
He also explored big issues facing the Japanese economy and its relationship with the Asia and Pacific region.
"By fulfilling ... four commitments, namely, making further strides in structural reform, preventing financial crisis, mobilizing long-term funds, and promoting EPAs [economic partnership agreements], Japan shall act together and advance together with the countries of the Asia-Pacific," he said.
Mr. Tanigaki also outlined four major tasks he said are facing ADB, which include strengthening policy dialogue with developing member country governments, clearly prioritizing its operations, demonstrating leadership in regional cooperation, and enhancing its aid effectiveness.
He said that Japan will strongly support the ADB's efforts in tackling these tasks, pointing out that Japan contributes 35% of total resources for ADF-IX and that Japanese trust funds will enhance ADB's strategic focus.
"Japan will intensify efforts to enhance synergy between Japanese bilateral assistance and the ADB's operation," he said.
"I look forward to the ADB, as the sole international financial institution based in Asia, playing a pivotal role in supporting developing member countries."
Mr. Tanigaki closed by expressing his appreciation for ADB President Tadao Chino.
"Mr. Chino has demonstrated excellent leadership in formulating the ADB's Poverty Reduction Strategy and Long-Term Strategic Framework," Mr. Tanigaki said. "He also has vigorously pursued the comprehensive reform of the ADB in terms of its operations and organizational structure. His efforts have strengthened the effectiveness of the ADB's assistance to DMCs."