Japan backs Romania’s turning to market economy by funding, expertise

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The Japanese Government has, after the 1989 events, constantly backed Romania’s efforts in the process of turning to democracy and a market economy, by offering it both financial support and Japanese specialists in various fields, said Yoshihiro Katayama, a counsellor at Japan’s Embassy in Bucharest at a conference on The Danube – Major Business Opportunities in Infrastructure.

Katayama stressed Japan, till last year included, annually offered Romania non-repayable funding for the economic projects as part of a programme aimed at „improving the living conditions of the ordinary man”.

There were 26 such projects by which various hospitals, schools, agricultural associations were equipped with medical, school and farming equipment. The value of each project stood at between 60,000 and 70,000 euros, with the funds being used by the beneficiaries to purchase equipment that should contribute to improving the offered services or the obtained production.

Starting 1991, the counsellor said, Japan has also backed the cultural environment in Romania, by donating equipment to important cultural institutions across the country, by 16 such non-repayable funding projects worth several million
dollars.

He underscored the most substantial forms of financial assistance Japan offered Romania were the official development assistant (OTA) loans granted for the development of the Romanian infrastructure. Such loans entail giving very high amounts at very low interests, which have long repayment periods.

The Government of Japan has given Romania five OTA loans as follows: for the development of the Black Sea-Danube area worth almost 111 million dollars, that was given in 1997 and was aimed at developing the maritime infrastructure in Romania; also in 1997, Japan lent Romania 80 million dollars for the development of its road infrastructure; a third Japanese contribution amounting to 223 million dollars was granted in 2001 for the railway infrastructure development; a fourth loan came in 2005 at some 250 million dollars aimed at the development of the Romanian energy infrastructure; the fifth and most recent loan was offered in 2010 for the development of the Bucharest subway infrastructure.

It is also the biggest loan, at roughly 400 million euros with an annual interest of 1.7 percent aimed at building a subway line to link the Henri Coanda Airport to central Bucharest.

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