Japan Agrees Projects Worth $26 Billion in Central Asia

26.10.2015 -

On a visit to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is said to have reached agreements for Japanese companies, including chemical producers, worth a total of $26 billion.

The visits to the two resource-rich countries marked the start of Abe’s tour of five post-Soviet Central Asian countries, where Russia and China are vying for influence. Turkmenistan holds the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas.

Reports from the news agency Interfax, quoting Uzbek President Islam Karimov, said agreements worth more than $8 billion had been signed, with Japan contributing $5 billion of the investment sum.

Alongside energy and transport infrastructure, mineral resources exploration and extraction, auto manufacturing, telecommunications and oil and gas sector, the projects are said to involve chemicals.

Representatives of Japanese private businesses accompanying the prime minister said they were studying projects “with great interest.”

In Turkmenistan, “we planned to sign documents on a number of projects in the chemicals sector and power station construction for a total sum of more than $18 billion. These documents have just been signed,” the news agency Reuters quotes Abe as telling reporters in the presence of Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.

“Japanese companies have now gained one more big business opportunity. And I will be happy if President Berdymukhamedov assists the implementation of these projects,” Abe is quoted as saying, without giving further details.

Japanese companies are already actively involved in large-scale chemical projects in Turkmenistan, building plants to process natural gas into fertilizers, ethylene, polyethylene and polypropylene, as well as into liquid fuel.