Japan to forgive $3.7 billion of Myanmar's debt

Japan says it will forgive about 300 billion yen ($3.7 billion) of Myanmar's debt as a way to support the country's democratic and economic reforms.

The government made the announcement Saturday after a meeting between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Myanmar President Thein Sein.

It said Japan will cancel 127.4 billion yen in loans due after April 2003. It will also forgive 176.1 billion yen in overdue charges accumulated over the past two decades after one year's time as the two countries jointly monitor reforms.

Myanmar's military junta last year handed power to a nominally civilian government that has carried out a series of political and economic reforms.

Japan does not have sanctions on Myanmar, although it cut most government aid in 2003.