Vietnam aims for $2.56 billion in Japanese ODA

By Dam Tuan   March 4, 2016 | 07:29 pm GMT+7

Vietnam hopes official development assistance from Japan will reach JPY300 billion ($2.56 billion) for the 2015 fiscal year, three times higher than in 2014, Vietnam’s Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh said in January.

In a meeting between the Vietnamese and Japanese governments on January 15, 2016, Vinh noted that owing to troubles posed during ODA use and management between the two countries, ODA disbursement only reached JPY100 billion ($850 million) in 2014.

“Vietnam and Japan still need to sign contracts for three key projects before the end of March. I believe the two countries will work closely to realize the target of JPY300 billion for this financial year,” said Vinh.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) claimed that this figure is much lower than in previous years of bilateral cooperation.

According to statistics from Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the amount roughly halved in 2014 compared to the previous year.

Back in March 2014, a Japanese newspaper alleged that chairman of Japan Transportation Consultants Inc. had admitted paying JPY80 million to win a $41 million urban railway contract in Hanoi funded by the Japanese government's ODA.

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Hanoi Railway Station. Photo: VnExpress

The disclosure prompted the Japanese government to suspend ODA funding to Vietnam in June 2014 to give both countries the chance to clean up their acts, including punishing corrupt officials and preventing corruption in transportation projects.

The minister said that six officials were charged with “abuse of power" as a result of the scandal.

Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Hiroshi Fukada said Japan appreciates its economic ties with Vietnam and is commited to continuing its ODA provision.

“I hope the two countries will strengthen their cooperation to reach the 2015 ODA disbursement target of JPY300 billion, and there are still three projects to be signed before March 31st,” said Ambassador Fukada.

At the meeting, Minister Vinh highlighted the growing cooperation between Vietnam and Japan.

Japan will channel the remaining ODA for 2015 into major infrastructure projects including the Da Nang-Quang Ngai expressway (JPY30 billion), Hai Phong’s Lach Huyen port (over JPY55 billion) and the Support Program to Respond to Climate Change (JPY10 billion).

Japan resumed its official development aid for Vietnam in 1992 and has helped drive the country's growth, pledging JPY2.6 trillion  since then.