ROME, ITALY - JAPAN signed an agreement on Friday on terms of its commitment to lend up to US$100 billion (S$150 billion) to the International Monetary Fund to provide financial lifelines to crisis-hit emerging countries.
The agreement was signed in Rome on the sidelines of a Group of Seven finance leaders' meeting largely aimed at addressing global financial turmoil that has led to a sharp economic slowdown.
'This loan is important not only for the IMF but also for all countries in need of help because of the crisis,' IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told reporters at the signing in Rome.
'This loan is the biggest loan in the history of mankind,' he said, signing alongside Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa.
Mr Strauss-Kahn said: 'This commitment is the single-largest supplemental financing contribution by an IMF member country ever, and it clearly demonstrates Japan's leadership and continuing commitment to a multilateral approach to global economic and financial challenges.' Strauss-Kahn said he hoped other countries would join Japan in providing support to the 185-nation institution.
He told reporters after the signing that the fund had enough money at present but in the future he hoped to double its funds as more countries would need its help in the economic crisis.
The IMF has awarded aid to several countries including Ukraine and Hungary.
'Owing to the bad figures we have on the economic side, I'm expecting a second wave of countries coming and knocking on the door,' he said.
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso had announced in November last year that Japan was prepared to provide supplemental funding to the IMF to help contain the current global crisis.
At almost US$980 billion, Japan has the second largest foreign exchange reserves in the world after China.
Tokyo is the second-largest donor after Washington to many global institutions, including the IMF.