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Opening remarks by H.E. Mr. Koriki Jojima, Minister of Finance, Japan (Tentative Translation)

October 11, 2012


His Excellency U Win Shein, Union Minister for Finance and Revenue,
His Excellency U Set Aung, Deputy Minister of National Planning and Economic Development,
The Honorable U Than Nyein, Governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar,
Distinguished representatives of development partners and international organizations,
Distinguished representatives of the international organizations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


   It is my honor to host today the Meeting on Myanmar in Tokyo. Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all of the participants.

Under the leadership of H.E. U Thein Sein, President of Republic of the Union of Myanmar, rapid progress has been made in terms of democratization, national reconciliation, and macro-economic reforms since March 2011. The Government of Japan greatly appreciates and supports Myanmar's reform efforts. It is high time that the international community join its efforts to underpin reform efforts by Myanmar, and reintegrate Myanmar as one of its members.

   Japan is the largest creditor to Myanmar. Against this backdrop, at the Japan-Myanmar summit meeting in April 2012, Japan announced its new assistance policy towards Myanmar, and called on Myanmar to address its arrears in a comprehensive way, in order to open a wide avenue to the resumption of full-fledged economic support.

   Since then, Japan has been providing its good offices to enhance Myanmar's reengagement with the international community, in partnership with relevant countries and international organizations. Additionally, Japan took the lead in convening development partners in Myanmar to have frank discussions among them: the first meeting took place in March 2011 in Yangon, followed by a second one in May 2011 in Mandalay.

   Today, ministers from Myanmar will give you an overview of their steadfast efforts with respect to their democratization and economic reforms. They will also expound on their discussions with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to address arrears. Myanmar has also indicated that they will work closely with the Paris Club. We are pleased to note that Myanmar has been delivering on its commitments, including their Parliament's July 2012 approval for the arrears clearance operation with Japan.

   Japan welcomes that the World Bank and Asian Development Bank will be in a position to clear Myanmar's arrears in January 2013, which will pave the way for the resumption of full-fledged assistance to Myanmar. In this respect, Japan will provide bridge-loans through the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), upon request by Myanmar.

   I have the pleasure to inform you that Japan has decided to implement its arrears clearance operation with Myanmar in January 2013, in which Myanmar's debts, as extended by Japan as concessional loans through 1987, will be bridged and cancelled, bearing in mind Myanmar's continued reform efforts and the aforementioned intentions of the World Bank and the ADB regarding their arrears clearance operation.

   Clearing Myanmar's arrears with Japan paves the way for Japan to resume new commitments of concessional loans (Yen Loans) to Myanmar. Japan is planning to resume its full program in Myanmar with concessional loans (Yen loans) to help support Myanmar's sustainable economic development, in line with its renewed assistance policy as announced by the Japanese Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Noda in April 2012, and this, at the earliest possible timing next year. While the details need to be further studied, assistance could be articulated around in such areas as electricity and road rehabilitation, rural development, and port facilities, which will be aligned with Myanmar's own development strategy. Japan believes it important to have Myanmar people grasp tangible fruits of reforms, supported by partner countries and international organizations.

   Today, we will share views on Myanmar's development perspectives and the forthcoming economic reforms, and discuss how we can work efficiently as development partners with Myanmar.

   Let me conclude my opening remarks by expressing my belief that this meeting will be an important pivot point for Myanmar's reintegration into the international community.

   Thank you.