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August 28, 2014

JICA President Tanaka Visits El Salvador

photoPresident Salvador Sánchez Cerén, left, and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka, exchange views.

Visiting El Salvador from Aug. 19 to 22, JICA President Akihiko Tanaka held discussions with government dignitaries including President Salvador Sánchez Cerén and visited the sites of projects on disaster mitigation and community policing supported by JICA. He also signed a loan agreement for the first Japanese ODA loan project in 13 years in the country, the San Miguel Bypass Construction Project.

On Aug. 20, Tanaka held discussions with Gerson Martínez, minister of Public Works, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and checked the need for disaster mitigation and climate change measures, as well as logistical infrastructure needs. He also discussed the possibility of regional cooperation that would utilize the results of past cooperation.

photoAt Ciudad Mujer (city of women), JICA President Akihiko Tanaka visits a cooking course intended to support women's independence.
photoPolice officers who work in a Koban explain community policing activities to JICA President Akihiko Tanaka.

He then visited the site of the Technical Assistance Project for the Department of Adaptation for the Climate Change and Strategic Risk Management for the Strengthening of Public Infrastructure (GENSAI Project), which is underway. The project is carrying out landslide prevention measures at the site, which is along the important trunk roadway National Route 1 (the Pan-American Highway) in the spot where some lanes were closed because of a landslide in April 2013.

Through these discussions and visits, Tanaka confirmed the importance of disaster-resilient public infrastructure to contribute to the economic development of El Salvador, as well as the effectiveness of Japanese technology.

On the afternoon of Aug. 20, Tanaka paid a courtesy visit to Sánchez Cerén and checked on the progress to settle on a development plan by the administration, which was established in June. Based on the strategy of "Public Works Investment for Economic Growth and Job Creation" the president committed to during the election and "Economic Activation and Expansion of Employment," an important area of Japanese cooperation to El Salvador, he announced that JICA will continue cooperation that directly contributes to expanding employment, especially in the Eastern Region Development Program, he said.

Sánchez Cerén attended the signing ceremony for the San Miguel Bypass Construction Project, a Japanese ODA loan project, and expressed appreciation for Japanese cooperation. He emphasized that the international loan project will greatly contribute to strengthening the transport capacity of El Salvador and contribute to the country's economic development.

On Aug. 21, Tanaka visited Ciudad Mujer (city of women), a facility to support women in the Municipality of Santa Ana in the western part of the country. Secretary of Social Inclusion Vanda Guiomar Pignato, who will participate as a representative of Latin America in the World Assembly for Women to be held in Tokyo in September, explained policies to expand economic activity, employment opportunities and social inclusion of women in El Salvador. She also talked about the impact of Ciudad Mujer which provides one-stop public service for women. Tanaka gave a high estimation of the value of the innovative measure of using various administrative bodies to restore respect for women and mentioned the possibility of the support by JICA.

Tanaka then visited a Koban (“police box”) built with JICA's cooperation in April in the San Joaquín district of the Municipality of Quetzaltepeque, in central El Salvador. The director of National Civil Police talked about how the cooperation JICA has carried out in the area of community policing based on its triangular cooperation with Brazil has steadily spread throughout the country. He also explained about how community policing activities have been positioned as one central measure to improve the public safety situation of El Salvador, which ranks fourth in the world in murder rate. Tanaka reconfirmed the importance of triangular cooperation with partner countries including Brazil.

During his stay in El Salvador, Tanaka also discussed various issues with JICA experts and volunteers working in the country. This included visiting the work sites of volunteers active in the field of sports (table tennis and judo) as part of preparations for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

He then departed for Japan on Aug. 22.

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