Japan would consider joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) if questions regarding environmental impacts and other issues are resolved, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a television interview on Monday.
Abe made the remarks at the same time as China was hosting the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the highest-profile international meeting on the Belt and Road since Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the initiative in 2013 to enhance infrastructure and connectivity along the trade routes.
Senior officials of Japan's ruling party said Tokyo was expected to reach a decision regrading AIIB membership, "The key would be how quickly Japan can decide to participate," Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party Toshihiro Nikai told reporters on Monday. He was in Beijing to attend the Belt and Road Forum.
Abe also said that he wanted to hold a bilateral meeting with President Xi in July on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders' Summit in Germany.
The AIIB is a multilateral financial institution initiated by China in 2013 and it opened for business in 2016. With a total membership of 77, the bank's mandate is to focus on financing for "sound and sustainable projects" in transportation, logistics, energy, rural development and environmental protection. Japan and the US, the main countries behind the Asian Development Bank are the only members of the G7 who have not joined the AIIB.