Japan’s Abe touts streamlined loans as China’s AIIB gets set to lend

(From Bloomberg)

Japan aims to cut loan approval time by as much as half

ADB and Japan to make $110 billion of loans in next 5 years

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is beefing up Japan’s role as a provider of infrastructure and finance in Asia just as the Chinese-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank prepares to make its first loans.

Abe in Kuala Lumpur

Abe in Kuala Lumpur

Japan aims to halve the time it takes to get a development loan and make it easier to obtain funds, Abe told business leaders on Saturday on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Kuala Lumpur. He reiterated that Japan and the Asian Development Bank — which the country backs — would seek to provide $110 billion of infrastructure funding in Asia over the next five years.

Abe’s push coincides with preparations by China to soon open the coffers of the AIIB, a $100 billion multilateral development bank. Like its U.S. ally, Japan declined to join the AIIB even as the countries including the U.K., France, Australia and Germany signed up to become founding members.

Japan and China are vying to bolster their political influence in Asia by becoming the infrastructure providers of choice. There is plenty of demand, according to Abe, who estimated it could rise to as much as 100 trillion yen ($814 billion) a year. While China is a member of the ADB, Japan and the U.S. are the biggest shareholders and the institution’s chiefs since it was founded in 1966 have been Japanese.

Japanese Engineering

Abe’s vision is to enhance Japan’s role as an infrastructure provider by playing on the perception of quality and safety associated with most Japanese engineering.

“The pursuit of short-term profits through only sales without support is not the way Japan conducts itself,” he said. “We will also not spare any effort to share Japan’s sophisticated technologies or know-how, or the reliability of ‘Made in Japan.”’

ADB President Takehiko Nakao said earlier this month the Manila-based lender is in talks with the AIIB to jointly finance projects in the region next spring. The ADB said in May it would boost its total annual lending and grant approvals by 50 percent to as much as $20 billion. Read more

Categories: Asia Unhedged, China, Japan, Southeast Asia

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