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Japan donates medical equipment worth US$2.8m

Japan also pledged to donate 21 paramedic ambulances next month.



The Japanese government on Tuesday donated medical equipment worth US$2.8 million to the Maldives health ministry.

The equipment was handed over by Japanese Ambassador Keiko Yanai to Health Minister Abdulla Ameen at a ceremony held at the STELCO hall.

The donation included four diagnostic ultrasound systems, one mobile digital x-ray system, one ventilator, one transportable incubator, five defibrillators, five dental units, five dental autoclaves and five dental x-ray film developers, according to a press statement from the Japan embassy.

In her remarks at the handover ceremony, Ambassador Keiko Yanai noted that 21 paramedic ambulances will also be donated under the grant aid programme. The ambulances will arrive next month, she said.

The equipment was donated as part of a grant of 300 million Japanese Yen (US$2.8 million) pledged for the health sector in line with Exchange of Notes signed between the respective governments in June 2018.

The second round of the Maldives-Japan Policy Dialogue meanwhile took place in Malé on Tuesday. Officials discussed progress on areas of cooperation, the Maldives foreign ministry said.

The Maldives delegation was led by State Minister Ahmed Khaleel and the Japanese delegation was led by Shigeki Takizaki, director general for Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs at the Japanese foreign ministry.

Japan is one of the largest bilateral donors of the Maldives.

According to data from the Japanese foreign ministry, Japan gave more than US$450 million to the Maldives in development assistance between 2004 and 2010.

JICA, the agency that coordinates official development assistance for the Japanese government, funded the construction of the capital’s seawall as well as primary schools and the social centre in Malé.

Other projects that benefited from Japanese aid included the first mechanisation of fishing vessels between 1973-76, the development of Malé’s seawall between 1987-2003, and the extension of loans amounting to US$34 million for post-tsunami reconstruction.

More than 42,000 Japanese tourists visited the Maldives last year.

The Maldives and Japan celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations in 2017.  Ties were established on November 14, 1967 when Ambassador Seizo Hinata presented his letter of credence to Sultan Mohamed Fareed Didi.

A new chancellory of the Japan embassy was opened in Malé in January 2016.

Japan is also one the largest importers of Maldivian fish with MVR170 million (US$11 million) worth of exports in 2015.