JICA will focus on cooperation in infrastructure (Illustrative image. Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Kitaoka Shinichi discussed cooperation plans between JICA and ASEAN countries, especially in infrastructure, in a recent interview with reporters from the bloc on the occasion of celebrating its 50th founding anniversary.

Over the years, the Japanese Government has supported the enhancement of cooperation between JICA and ASEAN, he said, adding that Japan has become a leading provider of official development assistance (ODA) for ASEAN, and is the second largest trade and investment partner of the association.

He cited JICA statistics that Japan has poured about 16 trillion JPY into ASEAN countries, contributed to economic growth and poverty reduction in the bloc and supported its member nations to reach United Nations (UN) targets.

Japan has also contributed to the development of the bloc via infrastructure development and cooperation in finance, technology and human resources development, he said.

With the assistance of JICA, many ASEAN countries have reached encouraging economic growth such as Vietnam (6.47 percent), Thailand (4.98 percent), and Indonesia (3.86 percent).

ASEAN is one of the most dynamic and influential markets in Asian-Pacific and the world, Kitaoka said, stressing that Japan will focus on supporting this association.

JICA plans to enhance support for ASEAN countries to increase competitiveness when joining the free trade agreement with China, he said.

JICA also pledged to support economic connectivity in the ASEAN community and help ASEAN nations complete legal regulations and human resources development, he added.

He went on to say that JICA will provide more technical assistance from Japanese private sectors and from universities, research centres and local authorities to support ASEAN nations.

The support will focus on boosting high quality growth, promoting the ASEAN Community, maintaining and developing the free trade system and sharing knowledge, he said.

He noted that JICA has supported Vietnam in finance and economy with projects on tax management reform, capacity enhancement for consumption law and policy and intellectual property, along with enhancing capability for business financial management to restructure State-run businesses and supporting the reshuffling of the banking system.

Additionally, JICA has helped Vietnam strengthen competitiveness of industry, develop human resources and improve the investment environment, he added.-VNA