Japan to pledge contribution to IMF trust for low-income countries hit by pandemic: finance ministry source

FILE PHOTO: Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso takes questions from reporters at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso takes questions from reporters at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, U.S., October 18, 2019. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan/File Photo

April 8, 2020

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will next week pledge to contribute to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) trust offering debt relief to low-income countries hit hard by the coronavirus, a finance ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Finance Minister Taro Aso will deliver the pledge, along with other contributions, at one of the meetings of the IMF and finance leaders of the Group of 20 major economies next week, said the source, who had direct knowledge of the matter but spoke on condition of anonymity.

The plan, including the amount to pledged, was still being finalised, said the official.

The IMF and G20 finance leaders’ meetings will be held via tele-conference due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan’s contributions will be funded by part of its 108 trillion yen ($990 billion) stimulus package unveiled on Tuesday to cushion the blow from the coronavirus pandemic.

The IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) provides eligible countries with grants for relief on IMF debt service. This facility was particularly effective during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the global lender said.

With the help of donors, the IMF aims to boost funds available under CCRT from about $200 million to $1 billion.

It has recently taken steps to enhance the trust to provide debt relief to the poorest and most vulnerable member countries.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal in WASHINGTON; Editing by Michael Perry)

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