The Government of Japan has started preparing full-scale grant aid for Zimbabwe while also further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.
This follows President Mugabe's historic visit to Japan where he met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In a joint statement the two leaders agreed to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries and Japan pledged to continue supporting Zimbabwe's development efforts.
As a result, Japan has since resumed provision of grant aid to Zimbabwe for the first time in 15 years, funding the Nyakomba Irrigation Project at a cost of $16 million.
"Since President Mugabe's visit to Japan, the country has been preparing to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and also resume full-scale aid to Zimbabwe. We have already received a funding request which is under consideration for the construction of a new bridge and approach roads across Save at Birchenough Bridge.
"Since 2000, the economic co-operation between the two countries declined somewhat. However, the Japanese government resumed aid to Zimbabwe in 2010.
Japan has pledged to continue supporting Zimbabwe's development agenda," Embassy of Japan to Zimbabwe Counsellor Kenji Miyagawa told The Herald Business.
He said since 1980, the Japanese government has provided economic corporation assistance to Zimbabwe and this has included loan assistance, grant aid, technical corporation and food aid. Mr Miyagawa said in providing assistance, the Asian country's goal is to improve the basic infrastructure, including agriculture infrastructure, medical facilities and roads.
He said, from 1980 to 2015, Japan has provided loans to Zimbabwe amounting to $340 million and grant aid totalling $540 million. In terms of technical co-operation, Japan has received over 1 600 Zimbabwean professionals for training and has dispatched its experts to Zimbabwe.
Furthermore around 500 Japan Overseas Corporation Volunteers have contributed theirs skills in Zimbabwe. Mr Miyagawa further said that Japan has provided assistance both technical and financial amounting to approximately $182 million.
The total amount of Japan's assistance to Zimbabwe amounts to over $1 billion. Mr Miyagawa said Government has also made a proposal for a grant aid for the establishment of the Cyber-Crime Management Centre.