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JAPAN’S THIRD WORLD AID PASSES $9 BILLION

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Japan's aid to Third World nations rose 22.5 percent to $9.1 billion last year, second only to the United States' estimated $9.8 billion in grants to developing countries, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

Development aid as a percentage of Japan's gross national product was 0.32 percent, up from the previous year's 0.31 percent, the ministry said in an annual report.Some $6.4 billion went directly to developing nations, the report said. That included $2.9 billion in grants and $3.5 billion in loans.