The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japan International Cooperation Agency will call for including expenses for safety measures in budgets to help companies reduce their financial costs for protecting workers engaged in official development assistance programs, according to a final draft of a plan they have been working on to improve safety for ODA personnel. The outline also stipulates that JICA will partially finance companies’ deployment of security personnel and purchases of safety equipment such as satellite phones.
Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida has set up a “Council on Safety Measures for International Cooperation Projects” following the attack at a cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that killed seven Japanese ODA workers in July. The council will submit its final report to Kishida on Aug. 30.
Smaller firms that engage in ODA projects have tended to lag behind in their efforts to take safety measures due to the high costs involved. Expenses needed to ensure the safety of ODA workers will be included in yen loan and grants-in-aid projects to reduce the financial burden on companies. In the case of yen loan projects, if costs grow, governments of recipient countries may be reluctant to shoulder increases in interest payments. The Japanese government will call for cooperation.
Japan will also assist ODA recipient countries with improving the capabilities of security authorities through human resources development programs. MOFA has already allocated 5.5 billion yen as necessary expenses in the second supplementary budget for this fiscal year. The Council on Safety Measures for International Cooperation Projects, which has worked out these measures, will be permanently established and serve as a venue for MOFA, JICA, and other related organizations to review safety measures continuously.