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February 19, 2015

JICA President Tanaka Visits Myanmar
He announces continued assistance with the aim of further developing and deepening Japan-Myanmar relations

photoMyanmar President U Thein Sein, right, shakes hands with JICA President Akihiko Tanaka.
photoDaw Aung San Suu Kyi, chairperson of the National League for Democracy, right, and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka, left, after discussion

JICA President Akihiko Tanaka visited Myanmar from Feb. 6 to 11 and held talks with dignitaries including President U Thein Sein. He also participated in the 3rd Myanmar Development Cooperation Forum and attended ceremonies of JICA projects.

On Feb. 7, Tanaka held talks with President U Thein Sein; U Soe Thein, union minister, President Office; U Win Shein, union minister, Ministry of Finance; U Kan Zaw, union minister, Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development; and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, chairperson of the National League for Democracy, in the capital of Naypyidaw.

President U Thein Sein expressed appreciation for Japan's extensive cooperation in a variety of areas including health, human resource development, electric power, water supply and rural development, and emphasized the importance of Japan's role in development of special economic zones such as Thilawa. Tanaka talked about the progress of JICA’s cooperation in the important area for development of Myanmar, such as rural development, infrastructure improvement, human resource development and institutional development.

Attending the 3rd Myanmar Development Cooperation Forum

photoJICA President Akihiko Tanaka gives a keynote speech at the 3rd Myanmar Development Cooperation Forum.

Tanaka gave a keynote speech at the 3rd Myanmar Development Cooperation Forum on Feb. 7. He praised the initiatives taken by the Myanmar Government and pointed out that it is essential to take long-term initiative to further enhance inclusive and sustainable development socially, politically and economically. This would include further democratization, balanced development both in urban and rural, the development of the private sector under fair competitive conditions and the equalization of educational opportunities, he said.

He also explained that JICA will continue supporting Myanmar’s efforts to long-term reform and development, with the pillars of "improving people’s livelihoods," "capacity building and institutional development" and "improving infrastructure and systems for sustainable economic growth."

In Kayah State, attending a Commencement ceremony and Partial Handing-Over ceremony for JICA projects

photoJICA President Akihiko Tanaka switches on the rehabilitated unit of generators at Baluchaung No. 2 Hydropower Plant.

On Feb. 9, Tanaka visited Kayah State, ethnic minority area in eastern Myanmar and attended the Commencement Ceremony for the grant aid Project for Improving Loikaw General Hospital in Kayah State, along with U Khin Maung Oo, chief minister of Kayah State, and Daw Thein Thein Htay, deputy minister, Ministry of Health. Loikaw General Hospital, the only general hospital in Kayah State, has faced severe deterioration of its facilities and obsolescence of its medical equipment due to its restless services since its opening in the 1950s. Therefore through this grant aid project, JICA carries out construction of a new eastern wing of the main building that includes internal medicine and emergency medical examination and treatment, as well as a western wing. In addition, necessary medical equipment such as X-ray diagnostic apparatus and ambulances will be installed. JICA also assists to strengthen the managerial and supervisory capacity of the Kayah State Health Department, through the Project for Health System Strengthening, a technical cooperation project which began last year. Tanaka emphasized that JICA will provide cooperation toward the achievement of universal health coverage* in Myanmar, carrying out both hard-infrastructure development and technical assistance at the same time.

Chief Minister U Khin Maung Oo expressed his sincere appreciation on behalf of the people of the State for JICA's assistance in various fields including water supply, the general hospital and power stations.

photoJICA President Akihiko Tanaka switches on the rehabilitated unit of generators at Baluchaung No. 2 Hydropower Plant.
photoPanoramic view of Baluchaung No. 2 Hydropower Plant

On the same day, together with U Khin Maung Soe, union minister, Ministry of Electric Power, and U Khin Maung Oo, chief minister of Kayah State, Tanaka also attended the partial handing-over ceremony for the grant aid Project for Rehabilitation of Baluchaung No.2 Hydropower Plant. It is an important power plant that at present supplies 10 percent of the total electric power generated throughout Myanmar. Baluchaung No. 2 Hydropower Plant was built in 1960 with Japanese reparations based on the historic post-war agreement of the two governments, and it was reinforced in the 1970s. It was renovated and refurbished in 1987 with a Japanese ODA loan. However, the equipment has deteriorated through continual operation over the past half-century, and urgent rehabilitation of equipment is required to maintain safe and stable operation of the hydropower plant. Therefore the aforementioned grant aid project is being implemented. This partial handing-over ceremony was held, since two of the six generators have been repaired. Tanaka explained that JICA will continue providing assistance toward full completion in February 2016.

During this visit, Tanaka also visited the sites of a water supply project being carried out as part of Regional Development Project for Poverty Reduction Phase I, a Japanese ODA loan project, and of grassroots technical cooperation projects including the Project for Self Development of Circulatory Symbiotic Society in Southern Shan State being implemented by Terra People Association. And on Feb. 11 he departed for his next destination, Indonesia.

*Universal health coverage is defined as "ensuring that all people can receive appropriate services related to health promotion, prevention, medical treatment and rehabilitation with affordable cost."

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