Japan is considering creating a sovereign wealth fund to invest in U.S. infrastructure projects and U.S.-Japan joint projects in third countries and will float the idea during two-way trade talks set to be held in Washington next week, the Nikkei daily reported Friday.
Tokyo is seeking ways to counter U.S. pressure for a bilateral free trade agreement and head off a rise in tariffs on its auto exports when Toshimitsu Motegi, minister for economic and fiscal policy, meets U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington on Thursday.
Motegi told a news conference Friday that he wants to “take some ideas” to the talks, adding Japan will not make concessions that will hurt its national interests.
Finance Minister Taro Aso said separately that Japan is in various talks with the United States on infrastructure, but has no specific plan to set up a sovereign wealth fund.
“Japan and the United States are holding various discussions in this area, but at the moment there’s no concrete consideration toward establishing a fund,” Aso told reporters at a regular news briefing.
The Nikkei said Japan will raise capital from the private sector through bond issues as early as the business year beginning April 2019 and provide low-cost government and possibly public-private loans, taking advantage of the Bank of Japan’s hyper-easy monetary policy.
It added that the size of the fund has yet to be determined.