Japan will restart its program of aid loans to China, frozen last fiscal year in the face of deteriorating political ties. Quoting unidentified sources, the Kyodo News agency reported that a government panel will soon approve the lift. The lift may be aimed at bolstering relations with China, which are more strained than they have been in decades, and follows an agreement between Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso and his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing last month. Japan originally suspended the loans because of complaints that China no longer needs them. The loans go back to 1979 but the amount has been going down since 2000. Between 1979 and 2005, total loans totaled some US$28 billion. Last year, Japan announced it would end development aid to China by 2008.