New JICA president commits to financial assistance for Ukraine’s reconstruction

The Yomiuri Shimbun
New JICA President Akihiko Tanaka

The Japan International Cooperation Agency’s new president said in an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun that Japan would steadily provide Ukraine with financial assistance through cofinancing between JICA and the World Bank.

Akihiko Tanaka, 67, the previous president of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, became JICA’s president on Friday.

The Japanese government’s yen loans for emergency financial assistance to Ukraine, which has been invaded by Russia, are part of a system to finance urgent projects at lower interest rates than usual. The government has recently given assistance to developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic by using the same loan system.

At the request of the Ukrainian government, the Japanese government is considering extending more than $100 million (about ¥12.2 billion) in these yen loans.

“JICA will support the Ukrainian government in the form of cofinancing with the World Bank,” Tanaka said.

According to Tanaka, if Russia and Ukraine reach a ceasefire agreement and Ukraine enters the reconstruction phase, assistance under this framework “will fully be the responsibility of JICA.”

In particular, the new president expressed his willingness to help restore infrastructure in Ukraine.

Regarding how to support developing countries, Tanaka cautioned that they “should not be burdened by unsound debts,” apparently referring to opaque loans extended by China to these countries.

“Unnecessary disputes between Japan and China should be avoided,” he added, as the two countries need to cooperate in fields such as technology and human resources development.