29 May 2006

Aid group cautions Japan against using aid funding to garner regional influence

8:25 pm on 29 May 2006

There's been a call for Japan and China to ensure they do not use aid spending to further their influence in the Pacific.

Japan has just announced that it will provide over 400 million US dollars in development assistance to the Pacific over the next three years.

China committed to similar aid levels in Fiji a month ago.

The umbrella group for New Zealand's NGOs, the Council for International Development, has cautiously welcomed the Japanese announcement.

But executive director, Rae Julian, says the effect would be very negative if the money was used to bolster Japan's foreign policy initiatives and not to support the Pacific.

"It is an interesting coincidence that this is happening at a time when Japan has two big agendas. One is to become a permanent member of the new Security Council and the other of course is the Whaling Commission."