HA NOI (VNS) — Japan announced it would continue its support of anti-human trafficking and maternal health care programmes in Viet Nam.
Mori Mutsuya, chief representative of JICA (Japanese International Co-operation Agency) to Viet Nam, made the commitment during JICA's annual press conference held in Ha Noi yesterday.
There were concerns about whether JICA would continue its previous level of support because of recent investigations into grafting activities in projects funded by JICA.
Mutsuya said that individuals and organisations involved in corruption will be punished, but Japan would not discontinue its official development assistance (ODA) for projects that benefit Viet Nam.
"We are, however, working with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Investment and Planning to bring about effective mechanisms to supervise the use of ODA funds," said Mutsuya.
According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, there were more than 500 cases of human trafficking reported in 2013. The ministry also says that the official number has been on the rise over the past couple of years.
In effort to combat human-trafficking activities, a 24/7 national hotline at 1800-1567 and free of charge was established with JICA's help. This project will continue to benefit from the continued monetary support.
Another JICA project, which will also continue to enjoy funding, supplies young mothers with maternal and child health handbooks which are currently available in Dien Bien, Hoa Binh, Thanh Hoa, An Giang provinces as a pilot-programme.
This year, several other projects will see plans to upgrade medical equipment in 10 local hospitals, build toxic waste treatment units, bolster Viet Nam's environmental management capacity and promote collaboration between Vietnamese business and small-to-medium sized Japanese businesses.
The grafting scandal, which gave birth to some of the recent ODA insecurity, began in May 2014.
Six officials of Viet Nam Railway Authority were arrested after the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the president of Japan Transportation Consultants, INC., admitted to paying JPY80 million (US$780,000) to win the Ha Noi City Urban Railway project, which would be funded by JICA's ODA funds. – VNS