Tokyo will waive Myanmar’s $3.7 billion debt and resume suspended assistance to the country, the Japanese government said on Saturday.
“Myanmar’s reforms are progressing with certainty,” said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at a joint press conference in Tokyo after meeting Myanmar President Thein Sein for talks.
“At a time when Myanmar’s democratisation is reaching a key stage, Japan is declaring to further support its efforts to reform and to continue bolstering assistance,” he said.
As a first step, Japan will waive 127.4 billion yen in debt that was first agreed in 2002 but was suspended while the country was in the grip of the military regime, an official statement said.
The remaining 176.1 billion yen, including interest and delay penalties, will be forgiven on condition that the process of democratisation continues apace.
“The two leaders shared the view that addressing Myanmar’s debt issues in a comprehensive way is important for Myanmar’s reengagement with the international community,” said the statement.
Thein Sein is the first Myanmar head of state in 28 years to visit Japan, as the former dictatorship is gradually welcomed back into the global community. The five-day visit ends Tuesday. Thein Sein was also visiting Tokyo for a Japan-Mekong summit.