Photo/IllutrationThe Asahi Shimbun

Japan has decided to scrap official development assistance to China now that it is the world's second-largest economy.

When Japan started providing ODA to Beijing 40 years ago, China was still a developing country.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will visit China from Oct. 25, will officially announce the decision the day after he arrives during meetings in Beijing.

ODA payments to China are expected to conclude this fiscal year.

China has already signaled its acceptance of Tokyo's decision after lower-level talks between the two sides, according to sources.

Since 1979, Japan has provided a total of 3.65 trillion yen ($32.4 billion) in yen loans, grants and technological cooperation to China. The funds were used to help China modernize through the construction of infrastructure, such as roads.

However, with the rapid economic gains made by China, Japanese government officials began to doubt whether China really needed ODA.

No new yen loans have been extended to Beijing since 2007.

In 2010, China overtook Japan in terms of gross domestic product, becoming the world's No. 2 economy after the United States.

The two countries will now embark on carving out new "development cooperation dialogue" that will likely center on providing assistance to developing nations. The shift reflects the changing relationship between Japan and China, a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official said.

"In the future, we want to support developing nations as a partner of China," the official said.

More discussions will be held to hammer out specific measures for the cooperative development program.

Japan's ODA to China in recent years has focused on school construction and measures to deal with infectious diseases. In fiscal 2016, Japan funneled about 500 million yen to China.

(This article was written by Tamiyuki Kihara and Ryo Kiyomiya.)