Section 2 Enhancing Connectivity via the Indo-Pacific Region
Japan has long been active in its efforts to enhance connectivity through the development of quality infrastructure such as ports, airports, railways and roads, particularly in Asia, with the goal of connecting recipient countries with other countries and regions, expanding economic zones by further activating the flow of goods and people, and thus contributing to the economic development of the whole region including Japan. In advancing infrastructure development to enhance such connectivity, it has: (i) not only enhanced “physical connectivity” through infrastructure development, but also enhanced (ii) “institutional connectivity” such as facilitating customs clearance as well as (iii) “people-to-people connectivity” such as human resource development and human resource exchanges. Through such efforts, it has further activated the flow of goods and people, while realizing “quality growth” through the transfer of technology and creation of employment. These are the characteristics of Japan's quality infrastructure development.
The development of the Southern and East-West Economic Corridors are at the core of Japan's efforts to enhance connectivity in Southeast Asia. The development of these corridors encompasses not only transport infrastructure such as roads and bridges, but also encompasses technical cooperation for introducing customs systems and strengthening road maintenance capabilities through the utilization of Japanese technology. The development of the two corridors stimulates overseas exports from this region by connecting the respective areas along the corridor to the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, and at the same time, motivates foreign direct investment from overseas including Japan, thereby contributes to reducing disparities in the Mekong region. In addition, the development of ports is also an important aspect in view of strengthening logistics function for marine transport. In 2017, Japan decided to offer its support for the construction of the new Patimban Port in Indonesia, as well as the development of a new container terminal at Sihanoukville Port, the only deep-sea port in Cambodia.
In India, Japan is promoting wide-area economic development such as the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and the Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC). When Prime Minister Abe visited India in September 2017, Japan provided an ODA loan for the development of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway, which uses Japan's Shinkansen system, and the improvement of the northeast road network. These projects contribute to improving connectivity in the region. In Sri Lanka, Japan has provided continuous support for the development of the Port of Colombo since the 1980s. When Prime Minister Wickremesinghe visited Japan in April 2017, Japan decided to provide grant aid to procure relevant equipment for the development of Port of Trincomalee, which is better suited as an anchorage. In Bangladesh, based on the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (BIG-B) initiative, Japan has advanced cooperation for developing economic infrastructure, improving the investment environment and enhancing connectivity.
In Africa, Japan is engaged in ongoing initiatives to develop the ports of Nacala in Mozambique and Mombasa in Kenya, which are excellent major ports facing the Indian Ocean, and to develop roads and bridges for the surrounding corridors. The respective ports play an important role in connecting landlocked countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, and Zambia to the Indian Ocean. In July 2017, Japan decided to provide an ODA loan for the second phase of the construction of the surrounding roads of the port of Mombasa.