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Japan's prime minister: Japan will pour $200 billion into global infrastructure

Shinzo Abe

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to invest $200 billion in the coming five years to build roads, power plants and ports around the world.

In a speech read out by an aide during a conference banquet, Abe said that as host of the just-concluded Group of Seven summit in Ise-Shima, Japan had taken on "a new responsibility" to contribute to the global economy, using all the policy tools at its disposal.

Abe suggested that for Asia to fulfill its role as the world's growth center, it needs skilled people who can lead such growth, as well as improved connectivity within the region.

"Last year, at this event, I pledged to provide $110 billion over five years to Asia," he said. "This year, we have gone further and decided to invest $200 billion in high-quality infrastructure around the world over the next five years."

The near-doubling of pledged investment comes as Japan competes with the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The plan is to expand Japan's grants and loans to Russia and African countries to finance the construction of roads, power plants, ports and hospitals, and to develop natural resources such as oil and gas.

In a dig at the AIIB, Abe said, "Infrastructure cannot be cheap and poor. We look at cost and effectiveness through the total life cycle of the project." Given that Asia is prone to natural disasters, he emphasized, infrastructure must be sturdy.

"Japan needs to contribute to the global economy," the prime minister said. "We will floor the gas pedal of Abenomics."

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