TOKYO (AFP) - Japan is planning to offer economic aid to countries rich in rare metal resources, with an eye on securing supplies of the materials used in environmentally friendly cars, a report said Monday. In the first of such deals, Japan is looking to offer tens of billions of yen (hundreds of millions of dollars) in loans as early as May to help build a 100-megawatt geothermal power plant in Bolivia, the business daily Nikkei reported, without citing sources. Japan will also study potential demand from countries in Africa and Asia for such aid, it said. About half of the worlds lithium deposits are believed to be in Bolivias Great Lake of Uyuni. Japans government believes it necessary to offer comprehensive aid packages to win contracts with Bolivia to beat out competition from other countries such as France and Brazil, it said. Lithium is used in manufacturing lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars. It is also used in pharmaceutical and fine-chemical industries as well as in the manufacturing of alloyed metals. The planned aid package to Bolivia would also include 440 million yen in grants for installing solar panels in hospitals in the capital La Paz, as well as co-operation in building an alpaca wool textile business and promoting the adoption of terrestrial digital televisions, the report said. Government officials were not immediately available for comment on the report.