The Japanese Government is planning to help improve transport connectivity in South and Southeast Asia by renovating existing roads and building new ones.

The infrastructure support plan, aimed at strengthening economic ties within the regions, has been rolled out in the context that China has launched projects to link southern China with South Asia by road and rail.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency will be responsible for drawing up the financial and construction plans. It will invite officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand to New Delhi in mid-January to brief them on site surveys.

Japan expects to confirm a plan with India to proceed with road-building projects in January when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits the country.

The Japanese projects are expected to improve road connectivity between Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Thailand while giving Bhutan and Nepal better access to coastal areas.

Aging road infrastructure and limits in its capacity and efficiency have become trade barriers between the countries. The economies of Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, for instance, would benefit from new roads in areas where land transport infrastructure is underdeveloped or inefficient.

Meanwhile, Japanese companies in the regions are also likely to profit from better connectivity because it would improve their supply chains.-VNA