Japan gives Myanmar $504M loan, forgives remaining debt, as Tokyo looks to reassert itself

Japan has extended its first loan to Myanmar in 26 years and canceled the remainder of the Southeast Asian country's debt, as Tokyo looks to re-establish strong economic ties with the former pariah nation.

The 51 billion yen ($504 million) loan agreement was signed Sunday in Myanmar's capital, Naypyitaw, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Myanmar President Thein Sein.

Abe arrived in Myanmar on Friday on the first visit to the country by a Japanese leader in 36 years, a major part of Tokyo's effort to reassert its position as a top economic partner after decades of frosty relations with the previous military regime.

Abe had met with Myanmar democracy icon and lawmaker Aung San Suu Kyi in the main city of Yangon on Saturday.