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Japan pledges $6.1 bn aid to 'Mekong Five' in bid for influence

'Mekong Five' leaders are welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (3rd R) prior to the 7th Mekong-Japan Summit in Tokyo on July 4, 2015Japan on Saturday pledged $6.1 billion in financial aid to the “Mekong Five” countries as it pushes infrastructure exports and courts influence in a region where rival China has an increasing presence. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled the pledge at a summit with his counterparts from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam — fast-growing economies through which the lower section of the Mekong river flows. “Japan will implement support worth around 750 billion yen ($6.1 billion) in official development assistance for the next three years,” Abe told a news conference following the seventh annual Japan-Mekong summit.

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