Mills confident in Japan

President John Evans Atta Mills on Wednesday expressed confidence that Asia could help Africa to accelerate her development.

He expressed Ghana’s appreciation to Japan for her development assistance over the years, saying it was an indication that Africa could look up to Asian countries to advance the continent’s development.

President Mills was speaking with the Japanese Premier Naoto Kan at his official residence in Tokyo, before the two leaders went into close-door bilateral talks, as part of a state visit of the President to Japan.

Issues discussed ranged from trade and investment, health, infrastructural development and international security.

President Mills said Ghana would continue to collaborate with Japan in her development efforts and the process of building a Better Ghana.

The President said his Government would provide jobs for the people, invest in the people, create opportunities for all Ghanaians to develop and run an open, honest and accountable government.

According to President Mills, the world has now become an interdependent society and Ghana would solicit Japan’s assistance, especially in technology to develop her vast natural resources.

Prime Minster Naoto Kan congratulated Ghana for establishing herself as the school for democracy on the African continent.

He said Japan was pleased to have Ghana as a partner because Ghana over the years has demonstrated that Africa has the potential to rule the world if given the opportunity.

Prime Minister Kan said his country would take advantage of the President’s visit and strengthen bilateral relations with Ghana and also explore new areas that Japan could be of help to Ghana.

The Premier recounted the historic visit of the Japanese Crown Prince to Ghana, the adventure of Dr Noguchi and other assistance that Japan has been offering Ghana saying, in Ghana, Japan has a true friend.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Mr Koku Anyidoho, Head of Communications at the Office of the President, said the Japanese Government restored automatically a concessional loan support, which was suspended when Ghana applied for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in 2001.

He said that Japan wrote off Ghana’s one billion dollar debt under the initiative, but it was only in an exceptional case that the resumption took place after the debt was cancelled.

“But for the visit of His Excellency the President, the resumption of the yen loan would not have been possible,” Mr Anyidoho said.

He said the Japanese Premier also assured President Mills of support for the Better Ghana programme through the provision of technical support to the shea butter industry under the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority, which forms an integral part of the Better Ghana Agenda.

Mr Anyidoho said Japan would also assist Ghana with agriculture equipment, protective clothing for women in agriculture and support Ghana to revamp her jute industry.

He said the Japanese International Co-operation Agency would also engage over 100 people in a capacity building programme.

From Benjamin Mensah, GNA Special Correspondent, Tokyo, Japan