Japanese aid, halted after corruption scandal, resumes

Japan is set to resume Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Viet Nam, the Vietnamese Government said following bilateral talks that ended February 23.

The East-West Boulevard project is under construction in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: SGGP)

Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc, who held talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, said the Japanese have promised to provide US$900 million this year to help fund a metro system in Ha Noi and other transport infrastructure, water drainage, and environmental hygiene projects in Ha Noi and Hai Phong.
 
The main reason for Japan’s decision to resume ODA funding is the Vietnamese Government’s anti-corruption efforts and the tough penalties it imposed on officials violating ODA regulations, he said.
 
The Government has established the Joint Committee for Anti-Corruption in ODA-funded projects, he added.
 
Mr. Phuc said foreign funding, especially from Japan, is important to Viet Nam. Japan has provided nearly US$14 billion since 1992, accounting for a third of the foreign assistance Viet Nam has received and greatly helping infrastructure development.
 
Respective agencies in the two countries have made preparations to sign ODA agreements next month.
 
At the meeting the two sides discussed measures to fight corruption related to ODA projects.
 
PCI corruption fallout
 
Mr. Phuc visited Japan as a special envoy of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to discuss the PCI corruption case.
 
Japan suspended ODA to Viet Nam last December after officials of the Tokyo-based PCI told a Japanese court they had given Huynh Ngoc Si a bribe of US$820,000 in connection with a highway project in Ho Chi Minh City.
 
Mr. Si, former director of the Project Management Unit handling the East-West Boulevard and Water Environment projects, and Le Qua, his deputy, were arrested February 11.
 
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Source: VNA, SGGP – Translated by Hoang Yen

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