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Economy

Japan to help finance China's Belt and Road projects

Emphasis on bilateral cooperation in energy, logistics

The Belt and Road links across Eurasia are expected to benefit Japanese companies with plants in China. Above, a train carrying containers from London arrives in Zhejiang Province in April with a sign reading: "First Sino-Euro Freight Train."

TOKYO -- The Japanese government intends to financially support private-sector partnerships within China's Belt and Road Initiative in a nod to improving ties.

Japan will provide backing, such as loans through government-backed financial institutions, to promote cooperation among Japanese and Chinese private companies working on initiatives in third-party nations.

The assistance will focus on the "green" sector, industrial modernization and logistics, according to guidelines put together by the Cabinet Secretariat, the Foreign Ministry and others. Government officials will explain the guideline to the business community.

Projects developing solar, wind and other alternative energy sources are among the envisioned candidates for financial backing, as well as joint efforts to develop technology that eliminates carbon emissions at coal-burning power plants.

The modernization of industrial parks and power grids may entail large-scale infrastructure projects managed jointly by Chinese and Japanese private companies.

Logistics channels between China and Europe are also seen as a promising area for cooperation. The rail lines connecting the two regions will be outfitted with a digital customs clearance system and other innovations that will benefit Japanese corporations with factories in China.

Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Japan and China signing a peace and friendship treaty. Tokyo will seek to advance bilateral relations, with the guidelines forming the core of the economic cooperation package. This move is also expected to serve as a springboard for reciprocal state visits by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping of China.

But some in Abe's government have voiced concerns, particularly with the murkiness of Chinese development support, and the potential for the fruits of those efforts being repurposed for military applications.

(Nikkei)

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