Vol. 5 Num 289 Sun. March 20, 2005  

Top donors Japan, US to coordinate foreign aid

Japan and the United States, the world's two largest donors in dollar terms, pledged Saturday to coordinate their foreign aid to help focus the impact of assistance to the developing world.

US Secretary of State Condol-eezza Rice unveiled the idea, which she terms the "Strategic Develop-ment Alliance," on her first visit to Japan since becoming the top US diplomat, although the practic-alities are still to be worked out.

"Today I propose a strategic development alliance for our two countries to sit down and regularly, systematically focus our efforts to advance these common objectives in countries where we are already working side by side," Rice said.

"Our alliance is not just about security and stability. It is an alliance of compassion," she said in a speech at Sophia University in Tokyo.

She said the world's two largest economies together provided about 40 percent of the governmental assistance given to developing countries.

"We support human development founded on economic opportunity and in partnership with governments willing to accept their share of responsibility," she said.

She stressed the alliance was not meant to be exclusive.

"We should also welcome the participation of others who can usefully contribute to this work," she said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura offered his backing to coordinating aid.

"Japan agrees with it wholeheartedly," Machimura said.