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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21, 2015:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strongly believed that Tokyo is the best partner for Asia’s transition to a new growth stage because it does not impose its will on the region’s economies but rather works with them for mutual benefit.

Speaking at the Asean Business and Investment Summit 2015 (ABIS 2015) here today, Abe said 2015 will be a special year in the history of Asia’s economic development and the challenge lies in ensuring a lasting growth.

“We Japanese do not impose ourselves on others. We take a long-term view, cultivating firm roots in a country. We think together and move forward together with the local people. This is how Japanese operate,” he told the 500-strong ABIS 2015 attendees here today.

Quoting Japanese ramen noodles as an example, Abe said the recipe for the popular Japanese dish in Malaysia has been refined to suit the local palette by using halal ingredients.

“Another example is motorbikes, which are popular in Vietnam, whereas in Thailand sports-type pickup trucks are very much in demand. People’s tastes vary from country to country,” he said.

Abe, who is in Kuala Lumpur to attend the 27th Asean Summit and Related Summits under Malaysia’s 2015 chairmanship of the regional grouping, said by fostering young people and embracing their strength, Japanese companies have assumed a role in Asean’s industrialisation.

“I express my commitment that over the next three years, Japan will assist as many as 40,000 young people from Asean countries, India and elsewhere around Asia in improving their technical skills and acquiring knowledge,” Abe said.

Japan would also launch efforts to educate and train young people through establishing new courses in 20 universities in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam and elsewhere with the cooperation of Japanese companies.

Abe said the country would also expand opportunities for the women of Asia.

“Half of all consumers are women. Women’s unique sensibilities are also essential in developing hit products. In Japan too, it is women who are now driving growth through Abenomics,” the premier said.

Abe added from Japan’s perspective, Asia is no longer a recipient of assistance but instead its partner and driving force for growing together.

Asean and Japanese partnership would extend also beyond human resources, he noted.

Over the next five years, Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) would provide Asia with innovative infrastructure financing at a scale of US$110 billion (13 trillion yen).

Japan would also drastically reduce the time needed for Official Development Assistance loans procedures to half its original time, Abe said.

“We will make these loans even easier to use, going forward. We will press forward in undertaking reforms that will make them even more responsive to the needs of the people of Asia.

“We will also advance our cooperation with the ADB further. Over the next five years, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and ADB will undertake US$10 billion in co-financing,” Abe said, adding that Japan would not stop at loans but would also make active equity investments.

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