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Message from the Chief Representative

For over 60 years, Japan has provided official development assistance (ODA) to developing partner countries. During this period, we can see that many people in Asian countries have escaped from poverty and their social conditions improved extensively. Long lasting high growth in some East and Southeast Asian countries, often called the "Asian miracle", started in newly industrialized economies and advanced ASEAN member countries and was taken over by China, India, and late-joining ASEAN member countries. The significance of Asia in the world economy has been growing in the 21st century.

Myanmar, which took a big step toward democracy and market-oriented economic reforms, has been trying hard to ride this upward wave in Asia and to catch up with neighboring countries. To succeed, it is necessary for Myanmar to make progress on national reconciliation among different ethnicities and to conduct free and fair elections. Strong-minded policy decisions aimed at making steady progress on reforms are also imperative, in order to take advantage of Myanmar's various rich resources and maximize the opportunities associated with ASEAN integration. In order for Myanmar's people to keep their motivation high and to continue to make efforts for and contributions to their own happiness and their nation's peace and prosperity, the country's development process has to be inclusive so that each person is given the stage for him/her to be a main actor/actress and to enjoy his/her share of the democracy and development dividends.

Japan's economic cooperation to Myanmar, which started based on the Japan-Burma Peace Treaty and Agreement on Reparations and Economic Cooperation of 1954, has spanned more than sixty years, as well. Since its establishment in Yangon in 1981, the JICA Myanmar Office has constructively engaged locally via ODA for more than three decades, through light and dark periods and in both fair weather and rain. Now, as the Japan-Myanmar relationship has entered into a new phase, JICA will again listen attentively to the desired developmental course and process that Myanmar wishes to take. JICA will provide Myanmar with knowledge and lessons learned that it has gleaned through our development assistance to neighboring Asian countries, while also assisting Japanese private firms, local governments, NGOs and the like so that each may utilize its resources to contribute to the development of Myanmar.

Democracy and market-oriented economic reform can't possibly be achieved overnight. JICA has the patience to support Myanmar so that its people, serving as the main actors, can overcome many difficulties embedded in its society and economy and, in doing so, create a new Myanmar. Furthermore, JICA will assist Myanmar so that the new Myanmar takes root in its own soil, replete with improved institutions, human resources, and social and economic infrastructure. In short, JICA will contribute to the reforms and development of Myanmar, thereby contributing to the sound development of Japan and the international socio-economy.

Keiichiro NAKAZAWA
Chief Representative
JICA Myanmar Office

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