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Aso says Japan to focus on environment in providing loans to China+
[April 15, 2006]

Aso says Japan to focus on environment in providing loans to China+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)TOKYO, April 15_(Kyodo) _ Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Saturday Japan will focus on environment conservation projects in extending aid to China, saying pollution is getting to be a serious issue in China.

"We are willing to provide enough money to help in environmental issues and capable of providing technical assistance," Aso said in reference to Japan's official development assistance -- chiefly loans -- to its rapidly growing economy.

The aid recipient has its own needs for environment conservation and it also serves the interests of both Japan and China, Aso said in a speech delivered in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture.

The government last month said it plans to withhold its authorization on yen-denominated loans to China for the fiscal year staring April 1, in light of the deterioration in bilateral ties.

Relations between Japan and China have deteriorated due chiefly to the dispute over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to the war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

On Koizumi's Yasukuni visits, Aso reiterated that just because China objects to them, the premier cannot say he would stop making them.

"Even if (the shrine issue) is resolved, don't expect Japan-China relations to improve immediately," Aso said. "Friction will inevitably occur."

Aso added that the leaders of the two countries need to meet for talks.

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