Japan Denies Announcing Plans to Join AIIB

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has denied reports that Japan is joining the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as reported by major media outlets on Tuesday.

The reports quoted Japan’s ambassador to Beijing, Masato Kitera, as saying that Japan is likely to join the AIIB in the coming months.

Suga, however, said the ambassador had not made any such comment and Japan’s position not to join the AIIB had not changed.

“I have been informed that it is not true that Ambassador Kitera made such remarks forecasting (Japan’s) participation,” Suga told a news conference.

Suga said Japan remains dubious on whether the USD50-billion AIIB will be properly governed or whether it would damage other creditors.

“Japan is dubious about whether (the AIIB) would be properly governed or whether it would damage other creditors,” Mr Suga said.

Japan is a major shareholder in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and analysts said the AIIB will be rival to the Manila-based lender.

“Anyway, I think it’s impossible for Japan to take part today,” the government’s top spokesman said, adding that Tokyo would work together with Washington, its top ally, and other countries to ask Beijing for clarification.

In an earlier report published by the Financial Times, Japan’s ambassador to Beijing Masato Kitera said he agreed with Japanese business leaders in believing that Japan will sign up to the AIIB but not as a founding member.

Kitera was quoted as saying that he agreed with the business leaders but stressed that the business community woke up late and Japan could not make it to the 31 March deadline set by the China for countries that want to be founding members.

Joining the AIIB would mean Japan breaking ranks with the US, whose traditional allies have already expressed interest to join.

The United Kingdom, South Korea, and Australia have already submitted their application to join the USD50-billion AIIB. – BusinessNewsAsia.com