Tokyo, December 15, 2011 – The World Bank honored Japan’s journey from being a recipient of World Bank funding to a major investor and development partner by commemorating this year’s 40th anniversary of its first bond issued in the Japanese capital markets, in the lead up to the IMF/World Bank annual meetings to be held in Tokyo next year.
By investing in World Bank bonds over the last four decades, Japanese corporations and individuals have funded approximately $150 billion in economic and social development around the globe. The World Bank is the world’s largest source of development finance and expertise, and works together with its member countries to help them achieve their development goals, improve the standards of living of their citizens and tackle global problems such as climate change. World Bank bonds fund this effort, providing financing for projects in areas such as health education, environment and infrastructure.
The World Bank’s first bond issue in Japan was a JPY 11 billion “samurai bond” launched in June, 1971. Since that first bond issue, Japan has developed into one of the most important markets in the world for World Bank bonds. The World Bank thanks the Japanese Ministry of Finance and the Japanese financial community for their support over the past four decades.
“We are very grateful for the strong support Japanese investors have consistently shown over the years for the World Bank’s borrowing program. Japanese investors greatly value safety, long-term commitment and innovation, values we believe the World Bank has brought to the Japanese market for the past four decades,” said Madelyn Antoncic, Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank.
“In addition to being a source of funding through World Bank bonds placed with Japanese investors, Japan is an important partner in the World Bank’s development efforts. Japan is the second largest shareholder of the World Bank and is one of the largest donors to the International Development Association (“IDA”), the part of the World Bank Group that helps the poorest countries, as well as to many funds administered by the World Bank, including the Global Environment Facility and the Global Fund for Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” said Kazushige Taniguchi, Special Representative, Japan, World Bank.
The first bond issue represented an important step in the evolution of Japan’s relationship with the World Bank. Japan became a member of the World Bank in 1952, and throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, as Japan rebuilt its economy after World War II, the World Bank provided over US$850 million of loans to the country. In all, the World Bank made 31 loans to Japan during that time, funding important economic development projects throughout the country, including the construction of the first bullet train line.
In recognition of the important role Japan plays in the World Bank Group, Tokyo has been selected as the site for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s annual meetings in 2012, the 60th anniversary of Japan joining both institutions.
About the World Bank
The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD), rated Aaa/AAA (Moody’s/S&P), is an international organization created in 1944. It operates as a global development cooperative owned by 187 nations. It provides its members with financing, expertise and coordination services so they can achieve equitable and sustainable economic growth in their national economies and find effective solutions to pressing regional and global economic and environmental problems. The overriding goal is to achieve major, sustainable improvements in standards of living worldwide. It has been issuing bonds in the international capital markets for over 60 years to fund its activities. Information for investors is available on the World Bank Treasury website: (www.worldbank.org/debtsecurities).