TOKYO -- Japan pledged more than $4 million Saturday to help South Pacific nations link up to the Internet, fight infectious diseases and strengthen regional ties.
The measures were announced at a one-day summit in southern Japan. The chairman of the meeting was newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who met with leaders from the 16-member South Pacific Forum.
It was Mori's first appearance at an international gathering since he replaced the ailing Keizo Obuchi as prime minister on April 5.
Japan, which is one of the biggest donors to South Pacific nations along with France and Australia, on Saturday announced three sets of cooperative initiatives for the region.
To promote sustainable development, Japan will contribute $1 million to the United Nations Development Program for projects supporting the use of information technology.
Another $2 million will be earmarked for regional and global issues including AIDS, narcotics and crime, and the forum's secretariat will receive $1 million to organize intellectual and cultural exchanges.
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