Japan vowed on Saturday to give $200 million in non-military aid to countries fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS), with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying the world will suffer an "immeasurable" loss if terrorism in the region is not halted.
"I will pledge assistance of a total of about 200 million U.S. dollars for those countries contending with ISIS, to help build their human capacities, infrastructure, and so on," said Abe in Cairo, as quoted by the Gulf Times.
"It goes without saying that the stability of the Middle East is the foundation for peace and prosperity for the world, and of course for Japan," Japan's top government leader explained in a meeting of the Japan-Egypt Business Committee. "Should we leave terrorism or weapons of mass destruction to spread in this region, the loss imparted upon the international community would be immeasurable."
ISIS, an al-Qaeda breakaway group, controls large parts of oil producers Iraq and Syria and has declared a caliphate.
The Islamist militant group wants to redraw the map of the region which is crucial for Japan's energy needs, the Gulf Times reported.
Abe also said that the Japanese government is ready to provide $2.5 billion in non-military assistance in fields such as humanitarian assistance and infrastructure, aside from the $2.2 billion in assistance Japan pledged for the Middle East two years ago.
"The Middle East ... that's the region endowed with great possibilities," he said, whose tour will also include Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Turkey. "And yet now it appears to be no exaggeration to say that the region is exposed to a challenge that is among the most serious in its modern history."
He emphasized the need for economic growth in the Middle East as militants try to take advantage of issues such as unemployment and neglect in education in order to boost recruitment.
"There is no shortcut to nipping violence in the bud. There is no way other than bringing stability to people's livelihoods and fostering a middle class, even if it takes time," said Abe, as some countries in the Middle East has yet to achieve stability since the Arab Spring uprisings.
Japan is set to extend to Egypt $360 million in loans for projects including an airport and a power grid, Reuters reported.
"These are intended to contribute to Egypt's development, and by extension, to widening the foundation for stability across the entire region," he added.