Japan's Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso makes remarks during a news conference, in Washington

Japan to increase investment in Asian infrastructure

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Sunday his country’s government will increase investment in Asian infrastructure at a meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), according to Kyodo News.

Aso did not immediately disclose the size of the investment, according to Kyodo. The move could put Japan at loggerheads with China, who is also setting up a new development lender devoted to infrastructure projects in Asia.

Aso said he wants to set up a new framework for financial cooperation between the ADB and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Kyodo reported.

“We want to encourage infrastructure investment that will contribute to high-quality economic growth in Asia,” Aso said, according to Kyodo.

The ADB is holding its annual meetings in Baku, Azerbaijan. One question that is hanging over the event is how the ADB will cooperate with the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

China has said 57 countries have signed up to become founding members of the AIIB, but so far the United States has chosen to remain outside the bank, seen as a rival to the U.S.-dominated World Bank.

Japan, which has a lead role at the ADB, has also chosen to not joint the AIIB, citing concerns that its lending practices may not be transparent.

(Reporting by Stanley White; editing by Ralph Boulton)


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