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Japan-Britain eye cooperation in overseas development projects

The Yomiuri ShimbunJapan and Britain will establish a framework in which Japanese and British firms will cooperate to develop infrastructure in other countries, including in Africa, according to sources. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to reach an agreement with British Prime Minister Theresa May during his two-day visit to the country from Thursday.

The two countries are likely to focus on projects in Africa and Southeast Asia — mainly in former British territories — to develop railway and electric power systems.

China has been investing in these regions in its Belt and Road Initiative. The country’s approach of financing railways and port facilities regardless of their profitability has been criticized by the international community as a new form of colonialism, plunging developing nations into debt.

A discussion on infrastructure development in other countries was proposed by Britain and Japan accepted the proposal.

The Japanese government hopes to contain China by working closely with Britain. Partnerships such as this are expected to help Japanese firms expand their market and business opportunities.

According to a survey by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Britain is ranked fourth as the nation Japanese companies operating in Africa prefer to collaborate with, following such nations as France.

Japan’s total direct investments in Africa stood at about $9 billion (about ¥980 billion) after 2015, while the British figure was $58 billion, more than six times that of Japan.Speech

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