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Last Update : Monday, Dec 26, 2016

JapanGov Weekly

Cabinet Secretariat [Wednesday, December 28, 2016]

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Promotion Headquarters

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the second meeting of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Promotion Headquarters at the Prime Minister’s Office.

At the meeting, guidelines for Japan’s implementation of the SDGs were approved.

Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,

“The guidelines for Japan’s implementation of the SDGs were approved today. Japan has established an excellent track record in sustainable economic and social development that can serve as a model for the international community.

The guidelines approved on this occasion include eight priority tasks and 140 measures covering the fields of the economy, society and the environment. Under these guidelines, we will set an example for the rest of the world and play a leading role in the international community in terms of domestic implementation and international cooperation towards achieving a sustainable world.

At the same time, the following concrete promotional policies were established in order to accelerate these efforts.

First is a policy for promoting international health. Japan is proud to have one of the world’s foremost national health insurance systems and we have made major contributions to the world in the field of international health through ODA based on the philosophy of human security.

In light of this track record, the world is looking to Japan to exercise leadership in the field of international health. In order to fulfill the expectations of developing countries and other members of the international community, we plan on providing approximately 400 million US dollars in total to international health organizations in the fields of infectious disease control, the strengthening of health systems, women’s health, and polio countermeasures.

Second is Japan’s efforts to address refugee issues. It is important to support development not only for the sake of humanitarian assistance, but also for social growth and stability, as a means of combatting violent extremism. Japan has a strong track record in development assistance, including human development that makes the most of people’s individual strengths.

Japan will further expand, both in quantity and quality, efforts to support refugees and countries accepting refugees by actively harnessing our experiences to date and our capabilities. We will be providing new financial assistance totaling 500 million US dollars.

Third is the realization of a society in which all women shine. Women are exposed to great danger during conflict and disasters, especially in developing countries. The reality is that cries for help from women are given a low priority, simply because these concerns were raised by women.

Japan will strongly promote measures for educating women, and ensuring that women are involved in the decision-making process for conflict prevention, peace-building and disaster risk reduction. As announced during the recently held World Assembly for Women (WAW!), Japan will fund initiatives valued at more than 3 billion US dollars by the year 2018, with emphasis given to respect for women’s rights, building a foundation for women to utilize their skills, and promoting women’s leadership.

In July 2017, we will report on Japan’s initiatives to the United Nations. I ask that the relevant ministers work closely together under these guidelines to ensure a united effort across the Government.”

JICA [Wednesday, December 28, 2016]

Signing of Japanese ODA Loan Agreement with Jordan: Support for reforms in Jordan which has a large influx of refugees from Syria and other countries

On December 21, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a loan agreement with the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Amman, the capital city, to provide a Japanese ODA loan of up to 30 billion yen for the Financial Sector, Business Environment and Public Service Reform Development Policy Loan.

In addition to refugees accepted from Palestine and Iraq, Jordan has accepted approximately 650,000 refugees fleeing civil war in neighboring Syria (the number registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), which is around 10 percent of Jordan’s population. The conflicts in the neighboring countries have increased the population of Jordan 1.5 times over the last four years and have had a major impact on the socioeconomics of the country and on the government’s finances. 

The Government of Jordan has been promoting efficient water supply and electricity projects because the country has always faced an extreme scarcity of water and few natural resources that can be used for energy. Nevertheless, due to the rising number of people who need water, electricity and other public services resulting from this influx of refugees, the financial burden on Jordan has grown dramatically, making it difficult to provide public services throughout the country. Though the economy in Jordan has stagnated as a result of civil disturbances in nearby countries, it is critical that reforms be implemented in the financial sector and business environment with the aim of independent economic development without depending on foreign aid.

Based on these circumstances, this program will provide support for reform by the Government of Jordan in two areas: the financial and business environment, and the public service field. For financial and business environment reforms, the program aims at creating a secondary bond market, introducing a credit rating system, and making industrial policies transparent. The program aims at improving the financial sustainability and efficiency of public services by introducing an electricity tariff mechanism linked to energy prices, and by utilizing renewable energy that reduce the cost of power generation..

By supporting long-term reforms with a macro perspective and alleviating, in the short term, the rising financial burden on Jordan due to the influx of refugees and the unstable situation in nearby countries, this program will support the Government of Jordan in its continued acceptance of refugees and provision of public services.

JICA supports the Government of Jordan by dispatching experts to improve the financial management capacity, providing training in Japan for improving debt management, and providing technical assistance for the issuance of sukuk (Sharia-compliant bonds) with the aim of more diverse ways to make funds available. In addition, for the electricity sector, experts have been dispatched to power companies and power authorities to assist in drafting electricity master plans, and for the water sector, support for building up the tap water infrastructure has been provided.

1. Terms and Amount of Loan
(See picture)

2. Executing Agency
Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation
Address: P.O. Box 555, Amman 11118, Jordan

3. Planned Implementation Schedule 
(1) Completion of project: December 2017 – with completion of the loan disbursement
(2) Consulting services: No hiring of consultants is planned for this program.
(3) Tender announcement of initial procurement package for international competitive bidding on project construction: No work in conjunction with bidding is planned for this program.

JICA [Wednesday, December 28, 2016]

Signing of Grant Agreement with Bhutan: Replacing bridges to enable stable transportation

On December 26, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a grant agreement (G/A) with the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan to provide grant aid of up to 2.156 billion yen for the Project for Reconstruction of Bridges on Primary National Highway No. 4.

This project will replace four bridges (Beteni, Passang, Samkhara and Telegangchu) along National Highway No. 4 in Trongsa and Sarpang Districts in the southern part of the Kingdom of Bhutan. This will improve the performance and safety of those bridges, ensuring stable transportation and thereby stimulating the local economies and improving the living environment there.

The highway network in the Kingdom of Bhutan is composed of National Highway No. 1, which traverses the country east to west, and four highways, National Highway No. 2 to 5 (total distance of 1,860 kilometers as of 2013), which travel southward to the Indian border. Of those, National Highway No. 4 connects Trongsa, a core city in central Bhutan, and Gelephu, a core city in the south, and is a vital roadway from the perspective of transporting goods and people. Currently, construction is underway on the Mandechu Hydropower Plant, which is expected to drive the country’s economy. As the power plant site is located along National Highway No. 4, the highway plays an important role for the transportation of construction materials and equipment. However, there are many bridges along the route that were built before the 1990s that have deteriorated and do not meet current design standards for width or load capacity, and ensuring stable transportation is a priority.

By replacing the four deteriorating bridges, this project will increase the maximum tonnage of vehicles that can pass as well as the annual volume of freight transported along the highway, which is expected to improve the stability and efficiency of transportation in the target regions. In addition to this project, JICA is currently implementing a technical cooperation project for capacity development in bridge construction and maintenance, under which a management system is being developed and human resources are being trained in the areas of construction supervision, maintenance and management for bridges. These initiatives are comprehensively supporting the development of the transportation infrastructure in Bhutan through both physical infrastructure and human resource training.

JICA [Monday, December 26, 2016]

Signing of Japanese ODA Loan Agreement with Nepal: Contributing to a more efficient trade network through the construction of Nepal’s first road tunnel

On December 22, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a loan agreement with the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal in Kathmandu, the capital city, to provide a Japanese ODA loan of up to 16.636 billion yen for the Nagdhunga Tunnel Construction Project.

This project will construct a tunnel under Nagdhunga Pass, which is located on the trunk road connecting Kathmandu, major cities and the Indian border, with the objective of making the transportation network more efficient. The loan funds will be allocated to public works for the tunnel, access roads, bridges and other construction and improvements, and to consulting services (including detailed design work, bidding assistance, construction supervision, and the strengthening of operation and management capacity).

As Nepal is a landlocked country with approximately 80 percent of its land mountainous, people and goods rely heavily on roads for transportation, and about 60 percent of imports and exports are traded with neighboring India. On the target route, which carries about 60 percent of the overland trade with India, goods travel from Birgunj at the border and pass through Narayangadh, Mugling and Nagdhunga before reaching Kathmandu.

About 15 kilometers from Kathmandu along the route is Nagdhunga Pass (elevation 800 to 1,500 meters) with a grade exceeding 10 percent. The steep, curving road causes chronic traffic congestion, and ensuring a smooth traffic flow across the pass, which is expected to see an annual growth rate in traffic volume of six percent, is a significant challenge in improving the flow of goods.

To deal with this challenge, this project will construct the first road tunnel in Nepal. With two lanes, it will be 2.5 kilometers in length and run under Nagdhunga Pass. This project is expected to reduce the time to clear Nagdhunga Pass to one-third the current time (currently 30 minutes when heading east and 20 minutes when heading west), making the transportation of people and goods efficient, and contributing to local socioeconomic development.

1. Terms and Amount of Loan
(See photo) 

2. Executing Agency
Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport
Address: Singhadubar, Kathmandu
Phone: +977 - 1 - 4211782

3. Planned Implementation Schedule 
(1) Completion of project:August 2022 – when the facilities are put into service
(2) Issuing of letters of invitation for consulting services (including detailed design work): Already sent
(3) Tender announcement of initial procurement package for international competitive bidding on project construction:

Procurement package title: Civil Works for Tunnel, Approach Roads, Bridges, Toll Facilities, Control Office, Disposal Area Development and Distribution Line

Planned release date: Around May 2018