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Japan Pledges To Maintain Aid To Africa Despite Rebuilding Costs

Japan will maintain its aid pledges to African nations, despite reconstruction costs following an earthquake and tsunami, a senior government official said on Sunday at a development conference in Dakar, Senegal, Agence France-Presse reports (5/2).

Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto said the country will keep its vow to double African “development assistance to $1.8 billion a year by 2012 and provide up to $4 billion in low-interest yen loans over five years” that it made at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in 2008, according to Kyodo/Mainichi Daily News. This pledge comes “despite a cut in overall foreign aid to help finance reconstruction from the March 11 quake-tsunami disaster,” the news service reports (5/2). Agence France-Presse reports the pledge to double aid “was already exceeded in 2009 with $2.05 billion disbursed on the continent” (5/2).

In related news, Japan’s parliament on Monday passed a $50 billion emergency aid package to assist in reconstruction following the natural disasters, according to Reuters. “The overall cost of damage caused by the world’s costliest natural disaster is estimated at $300 billion and the 4 trillion yen emergency budget will be followed by more reconstruction spending packages,” the news service reports (Kajimoto, 5/2).