Japan to Lift $1.5 Billion of Libyan Frozen Assets

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Monday said his government plans to lift the freeze of $1.5 billion of frozen Libyan assets in Japan, to help meet the demands for funds, such as covering emergency humanitarian medical assistance and supporting nation building efforts in Libya.

Noda said in an official statement issued Monday evening that Japan, in cooperation with the international community, will support the efforts of the Libyan people to build a democratic and law-abiding nation.

On Sunday, Libya's National Transitional Council, the organization that led the fighting to overthrow the former leader Muammar Gaddafi, formally proclaimed the nation's liberation following his death on Thursday.

Noda welcomed the declaration of liberation in Libya, expressing hope that an interim government, which integrates all Libyan people, will be launched soon. "The declaration is an important milestone' for Libya's full-fledged reconstruction, he said.

Noda also expressed his hope to reopen the Japanese embassy in Libya "soon" to strengthen bilateral relations. The embassy has been closed since February this year.

Meanwhile, Observers in Tokyo said that Japan seems to be "cautious" about strengthening ties with Libya for the time being, including promoting investments, due to the possible outbreak of civil war among forces that opposed former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official told local media that, "Japan will consider sending a team of investigators to Libya when things have calmed down," suggesting that the government will take a wait-and-see stance for the time being.

A resolution adopted on March 9 by the cabinet of former Prime Minister Naoto Kan imposed trade and financial sanctions against Libya as means to force its (former) leader to stop military action against civilians. The Japanese government then asked financial institutions to check assets possibly registered in Japan under the names of Qaddafi: Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar, and his children, Hannibal, Khamis, Mutassim, and Saif al-Islam, and Aisha.

Photo: Building of Libyan Embassy in Tokyo

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