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Mekong Countries, Japan Mark Cooperation Milestone

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Mekong region countries and Japan have expressed appreciation for the continuing cooperation between Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam and the Land of the Rising Sun.

Approval was voiced during the 8th Mekong-Japan Summit held in Vientiane on Wednesday, co-chaired by Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with the leaders of Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam also in attendance.

Cooperation between the five Mekong countries and Japan in the past year focused on the implementation of the New Tokyo Strategy 2015’s action plan, and the Mekong-Japan vision of industrial development.

The leaders of the five Mekong countries praised the Japanese government’s efforts to provide assistance for the development of industrial infrastructure in the Mekong region over the past year.

Japan has spent more than one third of the total 750 billion yen allocated as Official Development Assistance in implementing various projects under the New Tokyo Strategy 2015.

In relation to assistance provided to Laos, work on the Wattay International Airport expansion has begun and is making progress. Other projects in Laos under Japan’s assistance include power transmission in the southern provinces, an upgrade of National Road No. 9, and Vientiane industry development.

These projects constitute a significant contribution to industrial and connectivity infrastructure between the Mekong countries as well as regional connectivity and connectivity within ASEAN, a press release from the meeting noted. Mekong-Japan cooperation between the public and private sectors has seen about 1,000 Japanese companies open businesses in the Mekong countries during the past three years. The Pakxe-Japan SME Special Economic Zone was also established, creating further job opportunities for people in the region.

At the summit, leaders from the Mekong countries and Japan discussed the direction of future cooperation with a focus on the priorities, striving for comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development, human security, and a green’ Mekong.

Japan will continue assistance for the development of various economic corridors in the southern Mekong sub-region through the Vientiane-Hanoi Connectivity Study as part of the Mekong region connectivity initiative, aiming to develop a highway and expressway in the future.

Under the Japan-Mekong Connectivity Initiative, Japan will further promote infrastructure development in the Mekong region and make efforts to enhance institutional connectivity through the improvement of systems, development of special economic zones and other industrial bases, industrial promotion measures, improvement of customs procedures and people-to-people connectivity, so that the whole region can benefit from growth.

 

Source: Vientiane Times