JICA opens office in Cuba

The Japan International Cooperation Agency, or JICA, has opened an office in the Cuban capital, Havana, to step up support of the country's infrastructure development.

Cuba, which restored diplomatic ties with the United States 3 years ago, has been working to rebuild its weakened economy after more than half a century of economic sanctions.

JICA decided to establish the office in response to a request for support from the Cuban side in fields such as transportation and energy.

About 200 people, including a Japanese foreign ministry official, attended an opening ceremony on Friday.

Cuba's Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Minister, Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, said the opening of the office will help with new projects necessary for the development of Cuban society and the economy.

He said JICA is an important organization in working toward common goals and expanding cooperation between Japan and Cuba.

JICA plans to help with drawing up plans to efficiently repair and inspect roads and public transportation facilities. It also intends to introduce equipment to store electricity generated by solar power.