May 16, 2015
The signing ceremony for an exchange of notes and loan agreement for the Local Authorities Infrastructure Improvement Project. (From left are Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Japan to Turkey Yutaka Yokoi, Turkish Minister of Environment and Urbanization İdris Güllüce and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka.)
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka visited Turkey from May 14 to 16 and participated in a signing ceremony for an exchange of notes and loan agreement for the Local Authorities Infrastructure Improvement Project. During his visit, he held talks with dignitaries including Turkish Minister of Environment and Urbanization İdris Güllüce and visited JICA project sites.
Local governments of Turkey, that have been affected by a large influx of Syrians since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, have been confronted with the problem of the deterioration of infrastructure related to water supply, sewerage, solid waste management and reducing the level of services. The Local Authorities Infrastructure Improvement Project aims to improve infrastructure through the provision of long-term funding to local governments via Iller Bank, a governmental financial institution. The signing ceremony of the project was held in Ankara, with the attendance of Minister Güllüce of Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, a supervisory body of the Bank, and many Turkish government officials including Iller Bank executives. Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Japan to Turkey Yutaka Yokoi also attended the ceremony.
In his speech at the ceremony, Tanaka showed high respect to Turkey, who has played an important role in stabilizing the region by accepting largest number of Syrians in the world. He also stated the significance of the project to promote human security and peace building in the region.
Preceding the ceremony, Tanaka had a meeting with Minister Güllüce. During the meeting, the minister expressed his gratitude to Japan for providing the Japanese ODA loan for the Local Authorities Infrastructure Improvement Project. He also stated that the project will be remembered as a symbol of Turkish-Japanese friendship and will not be forgotten.
The 2nd Bosphorus Bridge, where a lot of vehicular traffic can be seen.
In response, Tanaka highly praised the leadership of the minister to realize the project, given the positive impact this project can bring to the local governments affected by influx of Syrians.
In addition, Tanaka had discussions with Turkish academias regarding international situation surrounding Turkey, and also with Japanese nationals working in Turkey. Through these talks, he reaffirmed the strong relationship between the two countries in various fields.
After traveling to Istanbul, Tanaka visited the sites of the 2nd Bosphorus Bridge and the Bosphorus Rail Tube Crossing, which were built with Japanese ODA loans. In Istanbul, which is divided into European side and Asian side by the Bosphorus strait, improving transportation across the strait has been a major dream since the time of the Ottoman Empire. And now that two Japanese ODA loans have made it possible to freely across the strait by car or rail, that Turkish dream has come true. Tanaka confirmed that the two projects are making a large contribution to economic activity in Istanbul.