Only profitable, transparent, civilian ventures approved for collaboration
TOKYO — Japan will consider joining projects related to China’s Belt and Road infrastructure development initiative on a case-by-case basis, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told senior officials from the ruling coalition Wednesday.
The prime minister met with Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and counterpart Yoshihisa Inoue of junior coalition partner Komeito to talk through Japan’s strategy on the initiative. China intends to use the infrastructure building blitz to expand its sphere of economic influence across Asia.
Nikai and Inoue brought Abe various recommendations put forth at a regular meeting of Japan’s party leaders and officials from China’s Communist Party held in late December, urging him to use Fujian Province as a testing ground for cooperation between Japan and China on Belt and Road.
The government in Tokyo looks to support Japanese companies working with Chinese peers on Belt and Road projects that meet certain criteria. Operations must be transparent and profitable, and the projects cannot harm the finances of countries that take on debt to pay for them. Nor can projects be readily convertible for military use.
Japan should participate in those projects it can join, Inoue quoted Abe as saying.