Abe pledges US$110 billion for Asian infrastructure

Abe pledges US$110 billion for Asian infrastructure
Shinzo Abe

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his government and the Asian Development Bank will jointly provide US$110 billion (S$147 billion) to finance "innovative" infrastructure in Asia. Innovation, Abe said, is necessary if Asia is to counter the challenges that wait ahead, such as the graying of populations and the ever-increasing demand for energy.

"Be innovative. This is what I wish to convey to you tonight," Abe said at the banquet of the 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia, hosted by Nikkei Inc. and the Japan Center for Economic Research.

Abe noted that while "youthfulness" encapsulates the essence of Asia today, "30 years from now, a large number of countries will have more than 20 per cent of their populations over the age of 60." Meanwhile, as 3 billion people become increasingly affluent in the coming years, "Asia's energy consumption in 2040 is expected to increase more than 60 per cent beyond the current amount," he warned.

Japan can help, he said. If the US, China and India were to install Japanese technology for combusting coal at high temperatures, "this would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 billion tons per year," bringing about an even greater impact than if Japan were to return to the time before the Industrial Revolution, he said.

In Bangkok hotels, Japanese LED fixtures have reduced lighting costs by 90 per cent, and inverter air-conditioning units have cut cooling costs by 40 per cent, he said.

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