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Japan’s 2020 development aid 2nd highest on record due to pandemic

  • March 11, 2022
  • , Kyodo News , 2:03 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO – Japan’s official development assistance totaled about $20.3 billion in 2020, the second highest on record, as loans grew to developing nations due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government said Friday.


The annual white paper on development cooperation issued by Japan’s Foreign Ministry showed ODA in 2020 rose 7.3 percent from the previous year. After $22.4 billion in 2013, the figure was the highest for any year since 1960, when comparable data became available.


Calculated by international standards under the “grant equivalent” method, Tokyo’s aid amounted to $16.3 billion. Japan’s ODA includes grant aid, yen loans and technical cooperation.


Japan was the fourth-largest aid provider on a grant-equivalent basis following the United States, Germany and Britain among the 30 members of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with its position unchanged from 2019.


“We believe the increase in ODA was caused by the coronavirus” first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, which forced many governments to rely on yen loans for emergency budget support, a ministry official told reporters.


The COVID-19 pandemic hit many developing nations hard in 2020 as it halted social and economic activities across the globe and travel restrictions were imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, damaging economies dependent on tourism.


The white paper said Japan has set up a framework for a maximum 700 billion yen ($6 billion) in loans for two years from 2020 to help countries suffering from the economic impact of the pandemic.


The world’s third-largest economy has also vowed efforts to provide COVID-19 vaccines to developing nations, offering 42 million doses to 26 nations and areas as of late February this year, according to the paper.


Japan had given 13.7 billion yen in grant assistance to 59 nations and regions by the end of 2021 in “Last One Mile Support,” which includes the provision of refrigerated trucks and other cold chain equipment necessary to distribute vaccines to remote areas, the paper said.


The document also said the international community has been condemning “debt trap” financing, which saddles recipient countries with loans they cannot repay, in a veiled reference to China’s huge infrastructure projects in developing nations.

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