PUTRAJAYA: There is a positive response to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s request for a yen loan, according to Japan’s chief diplomat here.
Dr Makio Miyagawa said he had followed up with several presidents of Japanese banks in Tokyo on the request.
“After Dr Mahathir’s visit to Japan last week, I met with the presidents of Japanese banks. The response from them was very positive.
“Jica (Japan International Cooperation Agency) will also consider it,” the Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia said at a joint press conference with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail whom he had earlier called on at her office here yesterday.
Dr Mahathir, who sought the loan during his meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, had said that yen credit from Japan would be in the form of a soft loan.
He said it would be used to help reduce Malaysia’s borrowing costs, which he said were “too high” under the previous Barisan Nasional administration.
Dr Miyagawa said when Malaysia was hit hard by the 1997 financial crisis, the Japanese government and private sector offered a good amount of soft loans to Malaysia.
“This time, Dr Mahathir had requested our prime minister to consider a similar yen credit or soft loan to alleviate the huge debt faced by Malaysia. I remain positive,” he said.
The envoy expects trade between Japan and Malaysia to increase under the new Malaysian administration.
“For the past three to four years, Japanese industries have been hesitant to invest in Malaysia due to the political turbulence. This reduced the amount of trade between our countries.
“But the new administration has shown transparency and governance which has encouraged our industries to see Malaysia in a new, positive light.
“So naturally, the amount of trade and investment from Japanese companies would increase,” Dr Miyagawa said, adding that Japan was prepared to help Malaysian industries through human resource development and transfer of technology.
Dr Wan Azizah said Japan was also ready to share its expertise on disaster management with Malaysia, adding that the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) would stand to benefit.
“Nadma can benefit from training and sharing of know-how in a number of areas, such as early warning technology and advanced planning on how to deal with major disasters,” she said.
She said with Malaysia set to have an ageing population by 2030, it would also be handy to know about Japan’s social protection policies.
“We also discussed the possibility of having bilateral training and exchanges in the area of women leadership development,” said Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women and Family Development Minister.