The new fund, called the Facility for Asian Co-operation & Environment (Face), will invest up to $2bn over the next five years.

“We are talking with potential partners about the feasibility of establishing a $2bn joint investment fund targeting infrastructure investments in Asia and environmental projects all over the world,” says Moriyuki Aida, chief representative for the Middle East office of JBIC.

“Our target is to establish the fund as soon as possible, as soon as we formulate the structure with government funds.”

JBIC is a prolific lender to Middle East energy projects. In late 2007, it issued loans worth $1.3bn to the Fujairah F2 independent water and power project, and $3bn to Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).

JBIC also hopes to increase the involvement of Japanese firms in renewable energy projects around the world, including the development of solar power and geothermal energy.

“There are a lot of Japanese companies that are very experienced in advanced technologies,” says Aida. “We would consider equity participation in such projects, depending on the involvement of Japanese partners.”

JBIC is also trying to persuade Middle East investors to be more active in Asian markets. “We are also encouraging private sector banks and trading houses from Japan to invest,” says Aida.