Finance Minister Taro Aso expressed wariness Tuesday about Japan joining a new Chinese-led Asian development bank, backtracking on more positive comments made last week.
Japan “is very cautious about participation,” Aso told a press conference. His comment compares with his remark last Friday that “there is a possibility of…discussing” how the bank is going to operate, once certain conditions are met.
But he did not rule out the possibility of the U.S. and Japan-led Asian Development Bank cooperating with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
“It is most desirable for (the ADB and AIIB) to work together on infrastructure,” Aso said, citing expanding demand for infrastructure in Asia. “But it won’t happen easily if their rules are totally different.”
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Washington is proposing the AIIB work in a partnership with U.S.-backed development institutions, such as the World Bank.
Tokyo has called for transparency in the AIIB’s operations such as screening for sound loans.
Unless such issues are cleared, “it would be difficult” for Japan to join the new infrastructure bank, Aso said Tuesday.
China has said a March 31 deadline for accepting the AIIB’s founding members.
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