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Japan ups ante in race to boost influence in Asia with cash

33 Comments
By ELAINE KURTENBACH

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33 Comments
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With the economy here in the shape it is in it's ludicrous to consider playing games like this with the future generations of Japanese that will have to pay the bills on the borrowed money.

Abe is dragging this country further into a quagmire.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Abe announced the commitment, which exceeds the $100 billion China has set for its newly created Asian >Infrastructure Investment Bank, at a conference in Tokyo.

It represents about a 30% increase over current funding levels.

Ummmm, where's this money supposed to come from? Pressing Ctrl-P over at the central bank? Funny how they just asked Tokyo to cough up half a billion dollars for the Olympics, but somehow pulled ~$30 billion out of the mattress to buy goodwill across Asia and snub China's new bank.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

This man and his cabinet are a liability.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

If the Japanese Gov was a private entity it would have been bankrupt so many times over, it is not even funny! Still there is plenty of cash do show who has a bigger di... I mean, wallet!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

And next year they'll be telling us to fork out 2% extra on everything we buy, an "unfortunate necessity" because we must be responsible and reduce the debt.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Like the article says, the funds from these lenders won't compete, but complement each other, and the biggest benefactors are the countries that really need these infrastructure development. Asia actually needs more lenders outside of these 2 countries.

That being said, my only concern is where Japan will get this kind of money. Not too long ago, JT reported on how the central government asked the Tokyo municipal government for some funding for the Olympics. It seems like they don't have enough cash to spend on all of these things. I hope Japan won't abruptly and suddenly ask these developing countries to commit 30% of the cost of certain projects.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Re second to last paragraph...While I don't believe a child (or any human for that matter) should be denied ice cream, it's hardly a necessity comparable with medicine.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Can't accept the past and can't plan for the future = Abenomics

6 ( +7 / -1 )

why you are doing every step in reactions, do you have you own policy? proactive thinking and policies needed with other nations in asia.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is to benefit Japan's corporations. Japan has very strict rules on procurement for its overseas assistance, namely that the work must by done by Japanese contractors.

As I say so often: corporate welfare has never been greater.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Can't afford the Olympic stadium and building roads and infrastructure overseas when people in Japan are still living in temp housing about 3/11.

Japan only didn't join the China Bank because the US didn't, now Japan is playing puppet to the US.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

'Giving' money to other nations in the form of 'aid' means aid to Japanese companies; the US did a similar thing after WWII in Europe. This will benefit the shareholders in those companies and the native laborers who do the actual on-the-ground work. It will not benefit anyone who doesn't own shares, i.e. most of the people of Japan (and no taxes will be collected from these profits, I'm fairly sure.). As JeffLee stated, corporate welfare has never been greater.

Meanwhile, I believe Abe has missed the opportunity to improve the infrastructure of a certain prefecture here in Japan that needs adequate housing for nuclear refugees.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

How strange that Japan is NOW upping the money. There's a difference between China and Japan dishing out the money. One country can afford to do so, the other is doing it just for the sake of it. I know, why don't we raise the consumption tax now.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I wonder whether the Japanese government can pay such a big sum of money. Whatever the reason behind the move is, it has a bright side, I think, that is to bring benefits for the developing countries and Japan. But nevertheless I'm really concerned about the finance of the Japanese government.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan is finding itself on the wrong side of history here. It has been badly wrong-footed by the AIIB initiative. Beijing played its cards very well. It coughed up a big wad of cash (and lots of promises) and set the deadline for membership really short. Thus, it prevented the US-Japan strong-arming other nations into a unified opposition.

That being said, however, for all the hoopla about the AIIB, there is still quite a bit of suspicion regarding Chinese territorial intentions. Numerous countries in South East Asia are less than impressed with the aggressive underpinnings of China's foreign policy. As such, Japan (and its money) might make some headway in offering an alternative to the great Beijing dash for cash.

Let's just hope that Japan has learned from its past mistakes with ODA, etc. Less corruption, better transparency are the two major issues.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ah, if I am Prime Minister, i will focused instead to give cash towards the dreadful situation of mental health, education, and decline of birth inside Japan, rather than Abe, who is desperately seek a lot of attention from international community.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

All this money that Japan will print, is going towards their corporations, not really help these countries. Japanese government is doing this, so that they can brag later that they "modernized" and helped Southeast Asia.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What a waste!!

Put the money where it is needed in Japan.

Economy, Fukushima, seriously promoting tourism, education ... and so much more.

But NO, "we" want to look good, we want to have a great relationship with other countries, because "we" are not what you think! And who cares about "our" own people, they will never protest our decisions.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@JeffLee:This is to benefit Japan's corporations. Japan has very strict rules on procurement for its overseas assistance, namely that the work must by done by Japanese contractors. As I say so often: corporate welfare has never been greater.

While what you say is true, it is only one side of the coin. Although work is done by Japanese corporations they hire local people for some (if not most) of the work. The completed infrastructure remains in the country which needs it (I guess you know it is not brought back to Japan :-)) and serves local people and businesses. Also, having profitable corporations usually means that fewer people are out in the street looking for jobs.

I really wonder why it is so difficult to make (just) a little more balanced comments?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Meanwhile, back in the shelters in Tohoku four years after the disasters...

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Meanwhile, back in the shelters in Tohoku four years after the disasters...

for Tohoku they appeal for donations on TV channels :(

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What a waste. This money will buy almost no influence, and eventually the government's hideous balance sheet will catch up with them. If Japan wants to increase influence to keep ahead of China, the way to do it is to build a strong economy (like China is doing). Stuff like this will contribute to a weaker economy and, ironically, a subsequent loss of influence.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan slow & late as usual, same with the general business environment, tourism, overseas aid, education of Japanese overseas. declining birthrates, work/life balance etc etc

Japan is always reacting instead of thinking, isn't chasing China's tail embarrassing for you Japan, its embarrassing for me to watch!

Japan as usual is decades late wrt to the outside world, same problem many once strong J-companies that are now struggling big time, very little good news out of these isles, tons of grim stuff though!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

NOW the reason for printing all that yen becomes clear.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“Asia has a voracious infrastructure demand... we should seek ‘quality as well as quantity.’ Pursuing both is perfectly suited to Asia.”

So the rest of Asia is to be concreted over too?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Abe san has that $110 billion on a sturdy length of elastic in the form 'loans' financed in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and Japan’s aid agencies. Expect plenty of small print to wade through even before reaching the hoops........... Respects but beware right wingers bearing gifts. Even if Christmas, in it's Christian guise was celebrated in Japan, it's May.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have a feeling much of this is really corporate welfare for large Japanese corporations. What do you all think? How is the money used?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

a govn't that cares more about AIIB than its own people, do ordinary citizens really care at all about AIIB?

looks more like this is not part of Abenomics but a new thing just created with haste because of AIIB.

but even with Abenomics, things are only for the few in boardrooms, not for the many (ordinary working families) doing backbreaking jobs.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Put the people of Japan first, Abe. Those displaced people in the Touhoku region are first priority. What are you thinking?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Japan plans to provide $110 billion to help develop roads, ports and other infrastructure in Asia"

I knew all that extra money the government has been raking in since they upped the sales tax on everything to 8% a year ago would enable Abe to promise to give away $110 billion of it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For a country in 200% debt, this makes sense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Abe sings this Ian Dury's Classic....

I could spend the money on the people of Tohoku, Invest in cleaner energy ? I haven't got the bottle. I could get the victims out of temporary shelter Sliding down and down on my financial helter skelter... What a waste ! What a waste ! What a waste ! What a waste !

Because I chose to be a pork belly politician Not scared by debt or radiation I couldn't care, about being kind.... What a waste, what a waste , but I don't mind.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan shouldn't get sucked into a bank war on the AIIB ... the Chinese end recruited a few PR consultancies to talk it up to western media hence all the favourable press from lazy journalists.

When it gets going and those looking for funds find they must comply with Beijing policy it may not look so hot .. Manila can have extra $$ if they shut up about the Spratlys etc ..

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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