TOKYO, April 5 (UPI) -- Japan was the second most generous donor of total aid in 2005, according to preliminary figures released Tuesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
OECD data suggested Japan's annual contribution reached $13.1 billion dollars, up 46.8 percent from the previous year, positioning the country second only to the United States in the list of donor nations. The United States donated $27.46 billion in 2005.
The increase was mainly attributed to Japan's debt relief grants to Iraq, accounting for $3.22 billion. In March Japan decided to resume loans to Iraq amounting to $660 million after a more than 20-year lapse, during which Iraq underwent three wars and ensuing economic sanctions.
The money will be spent for refurbishing ports, nationwide irrigation projects and repairs of a thermal generation station in Baghdad.
Indonesia, the largest recipient of Japanese loans, has seen $802 million recently committed, reaching the country's cumulative total of $34.7 billion. But Indonesian Vice President Yusuf Kara reportedly voiced dismay over his country's heavy debt burden.
A major loan project to construct a high speed transportation system in Jakarta was averted due to Indonesian complaints over the strings attached to the loan.
As Japan's fiscal year ended on March 31, many developmental assistance and loan issues were signed or concluded, with the notable exception of China.
The Japanese government postponed its decision on contributions to China before the fiscal year ended, reflecting a deterioration in bilateral relations.
On Wednesday, Yomiuri Shimbun daily quoted government sources as saying that new loans to China will be about $647 million, or $85 million less than the 2004 amount, to be finalized in May.
Although both countries had already agreed to end Japan's loans to China before the Beijing Olympics in 2008, some Japanese politicians are now suggesting they expedite the termination.