Japan mulls direct aid to Palestinians



Japan is preparing to meet with Palestinian Authority representatives next month to discuss the possible resumption of direct aid to the government. Japanese Foreign Ministry official Hideaki Adachi confirmed that Tokyo is looking into alternative ways of supporting relief operations and advancing the peace process in the region but gave no finality on a decision. Japan’s last direct assistance to Palestinians was in December 2005, valued at $500,000, but since then it has chosen to bypass the government for security reasons, coursing humanitarian aid through international agencies and non-governmental organizations instead. Japanese aid to Palestinians since 1993 totaled $900 million, with $53.7 million in grants and another $5.45 million in technical aid for the 2006 fiscal year alone. Another $30 million in aid was promised through international agencies by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi last summer.

Sources:
Japan may resume direct aid to Palestinians: report (Reuters)
Report: Japan moves toward resuming aid (AP)

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