Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 204

The Japanese government yesterday announced its decision to lend 15.5 billion yen (more than $140 million) to Uzbekistan for expanding and modernizing the airports of Bukhara, Samarkand, and Urgench. Uzbekistan hopes to attract international tourism to the historical monuments in these cities, which were once political and cultural centers of the Muslim and Turkic world, situated on the ancient Silk Road. Earlier this year, Japan lent 6 billion yen (more than $50 million) to Uzbekistan for overhauling its rolling stock. Last year Tokyo lent 13 billion yen (approximately $120 million) to Uzbekistan for developing its telecommunications system. (Western agencies, October 30)

Also yesterday, donor countries and international financial agencies involved in aiding and crediting Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan opened a meeting in Tokyo. Japan is considering lending 20 billion yen to Kazakhstan and 10 billion yen to Kyrgyzstan in the current fiscal year to support infrastructure projects. The Japanese government and business circles hope to begin importing substantial amounts of Central Asian fuels and materials within the next few years, and are interested in the growth of international investments in the region. Accordingly, they also support the development of these countries’ transportation and communications systems.