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Japan eyes improved use of official development assistance: paper

  • March 8, 2019
  • , Kyodo News , 9:17 a.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO — Japan will join with private companies and nongovernmental organizations to make more efficient and effective use of official development assistance, one of Tokyo’s key diplomatic pillars, according to a white paper released Friday.


The annual report on development cooperation reflects Japan’s review of the provision of ODA, intended to help economic and social advancements in developing nations.


“It will become even more necessary to strengthen coordination among various aid providers,” the Foreign Ministry said in the 2018 white paper. “The ministry will deepen discussion with various parties involved and carry out ODA provision in a more efficient and effective way.”


Japan was the world’s largest provider of ODA in 2000, but it fell to third after the United States and Germany in 2017, with around $18.46 billion. The nation’s increasingly poor fiscal situation has prompted calls for the review.


Japan has already declared an end to its ODA support of China, provided since 1979, that has helped its ascent to its current status as the world’s second-largest economic power, saying the neighbors are now “equal partners.”


The total amount of ODA extended to China over the four-decade period exceeded 3.6 trillion yen ($32 billion), enabling it to improve infrastructure and tackle environmental problems such as air pollution.


The latest report, however, stressed the importance of ODA in achieving a “free and open” Indo-Pacific, an initiative advocated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to ensure smooth movements of people and goods and create a rules-based order.


Humanitarian assistance is also part of Japan’s priority areas. Tokyo will continue to provide support to the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority group who have fled to Bangladesh to escape a military crackdown in Myanmar, and pave the way for their repatriation, the ministry said.


Focused on nonmilitary contributions, Japan’s international cooperation aims to improve human security globally. Its ODA includes grant aid, yen loans and technical cooperation.


As the host of the Group of 20 summit in June and an international conference on African development in August, 2019 is a “critical year” to meet U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, a set of targets to be attained by 2030 in areas such as poverty, inequality, climate and peace, the ministry said.


“Japan will show the world that it is a strong promoter of SDGs and exercise leadership,” it said.


The white paper is compiled every year to outline with statistics Japan’s contributions in development assistance.

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