By Keita Ikeda in Beijing
The Japanese government has not indicated direct support for China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” for a broad economic sphere. It is insisting on promoting cooperation between Japanese and Chinese companies only for projects meeting the standards of “high-quality infrastructure,” keeping a certain distance from China’s initiative.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not mention the “Belt and Road Initiative” in his speech to the “Japan-China forum for cooperation in third country markets” held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 27. He cited four conditions for bilateral cooperation in infrastructure projects: openness, transparency, economic efficiency, and fiscal health of the aid recipient nations. He stressed that “it is possible for Japanese and Chinese companies to become models of international standards.”
One example of bilateral cooperation in infrastructure projects in a third country is aid for the modernization of an oil refinery in Kazakhstan. The Japanese government will only provide aid for collaborative projects between companies if they meet the four conditions, so it is believed that “there are only a few projects that can be undertaken immediately,” according to a Japanese government source.
Meanwhile, companies and government-linked organizations on both sides have signed memorandums for 52 infrastructure ventures in third countries and other projects to coincide with the holding of this forum.