Japan pledges over $800 million for Vietnam's infrastructure projects

Thanh Nien News

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 Long Bien Bridge, which is part of Hanoi's first urban railway system. The project was hit by a corruption scandal in 2014, which forced Japan to reduce its ODA pledges to Vietnam to a record low of 100 billion yen. Photo: Thai Son
Japanese government will lend 95 billion yen (US$811.53 million) in official development loans (ODA) for three transport infrastructure projects and one climate change response plan in Vietnam, the government website has reported.
The loans, whose agreements were signed in Hanoi on Friday, were part of a package of over 300 billion yen ($2.56 billion) Japan pledged for Vietnam in its fiscal year 2015, it said.
Japanese ambassador to Vietnam Hiroshi Fukada was quoted as saying at the signing ceremony that the countries expect to sign loans agreements for another three transport projects by the end of the fiscal year which will be this March 31.
Bui Quang Vinh, Minister of Planning and Investment, said it was "remarkable" that Japan raised its ODA pledges to Vietnam this fiscal year three folds from the previous year.
In the fiscal year 2014, Japan's ODA loans to Vietnam hit a record low of around 100 billion yen, following a graft case linked to Hanoi's first urban railway system funded by Japan, Vinh was quoted as saying.
Six Vietnamese railway officials was found having received VND11 billion in bribes from Japan Transportation Consultants Inc., a technical consultant for the project.
The Vietnamese officials, including three people who were chiefs of Vietnam Railways' project management unit between 2009 and 2014, received sentences ranging from five and half years to 12 years for "abuse of power" at a hearing in October last year.
As Vietnam's biggest sponsor, Japan has pledged 2.6 trillion yen ($22.21 billion) in ODA to the country since 1992, according to official figures.

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