TOKYO -- Japan will provide official development assistance to a new comprehensive medical university and its affiliated hospital in Bhutan, government sources said Tuesday. Much of the aid will be in the form of education.
The aid, which is expected to total several tens of billions of yen (several hundreds of millions of dollars), will mark Japan's first full-scale overseas assistance in the field of medical education.
Bhutan is to open the new comprehensive medical university and part of its affiliated hospital during the current fiscal year through March 2015. Japan will dispatch doctors, nurses and other experts.
The Japanese contingent will give lectures and train officials of Bhutan's health ministry as well as doctors and nurses at state-run hospitals. They will also mentor radiation therapy technicians.
The Japanese government also plans to establish a program to train Bhutanese students in Japan in endoscope surgery and other advanced medical technologies.
The Japanese government is considering extending similar assistance to other countries. Myanmar, Laos and other Southeast Asian nations could be in line.
Japanese medical technologies are highly sought after, and Japanese companies are exporting more of the equipment than ever before.
The government hopes to make its planned aid for Bhutan a model project to help improve medical services in developing countries by not only exporting medical equipment but also sending educators and professional assistance.