The Japanese government has granted more than US $12 million to Burma in deals signed with non-governmental organizations in Japan and the government-affiliated Myanmar Peace Center.
The grants are intended to fund peace process work in the country, including in ethnic majority areas.
President’s Office Minister Aung Min, who is MPC chairman, signed the deal with Japan Platform representative Keiko Kiyama on Monday.
Japan Platform is an aid organization focusing on refugees and humanitarian disasters.
In a joint statement issued by MPC and the Japanese embassy, it stated that to improve the life of people in Burma, it would begin programs in Karen State and its expected budget is $11 million for the next three years.
The Japan Platform will provide funding to Japanese NGOs that will implement projects in Karen State.
“The government of Japan recognizes the importance to further reforms in Myanmar [Burma] and therefore continuously supports domestic efforts so that the people of Myanmar can feel the fruit of democratization, national reconciliation and economic reforms,” read the statement.
Meanwhile, Mikio Numata, Japanese ambassador to Burma, and Kyaw Soe Hlaing, the executive director of MPC, have also signed separate grant contracts totaling more than $1.2 million on Monday.
The Japanese government has said it is committed to supporting peace building efforts and reconciliation, as well as improvement of livelihoods of Burmese people, including ethnic minorities.
MPC said it will use funding from the Japanese government to open more offices and meeting spaces, as well as furniture and electronic equipment.
Hla Maung Shwe, a member of the MPC, told The Irrawaddy that the $11 million-budget will fund resettlement for displaced people in Karen State and the improvement of their livelihood.
He added that the funding will neither be given to the central government nor local authorities in Karen State. The Japanese NGOs will distribute the financial support, he continued.
Tokyo-based philanthropic organization the Nippon Foundation is also active in Burma, delivering aid such as rice and medicines in ethnic areas including. They gave $3 million for humanitarian assistance in the ethnic minority regions since October last year.
With additional reporting by Than Htike Oo.