Japan has decided to extend grant aid of JPY 800 million (USD 8 million) to the Palestinian Authority to promote its efforts for economic and social development, the Japanese Foreign Ministry announced Thursday. The grant will be used for the purchase of necessary commodities in the Palestinian territories, the ministry said in a statement.
"The Palestinian economy remains in a difficult condition, particularly due to a considerable decrease of employment opportunities for Palestinians as well as destructions of various social and economic infrastructures in the repeated collisions in the Palestinian territories since September 2000. Through this aid, it is expected that the serious financial conditions of the Palestinian Authority will be improved," the statement said. In order to promote the Middle East peace process under these circumstances, it is imperative to work for the stability and the development of the Palestinian society and its civil life by supporting the efforts of the Palestinian Authority for economic and social development, the ministry said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida exchanged the notes with Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara on Wednesday during his visit to Ramallah in the West Bank. Kishida is on a five-day tour to Israel, Palestine and Jordan to contribute to the Middle East peace process and promote the Tokyo-led Middle East initiative. On Thursday, Kishida will host four-way ministerial-level talks among Japan, Israel, Palestine and Jordan in the West Bank to discuss the Japan-proposed initiative, dubbed the "Corridor for Peace and Prosperity," which aims at helping achieve peace in the Middle East through economic independence of the Palestinians. The projects include construction of the agro-industrial park with modern distribution facilities in the region.