Tokyo, May 16 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government is considering revising its Development Cooperation Charter, which spells out the basic policy on foreign aid, informed sources said Monday.
Japan hopes to update its foreign aid in response to the rapidly changing international environment, marked by China’s increasingly hegemonic activities and the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The government will start work to amend the charter by year-end, aiming to realize the revision within next year.
The government released the charter in 2015 by revising its previous Official Development Assistance Charter, in order to make it possible to provide support to foreign militaries in nonmilitary fields, such as disaster relief and reconstruction.
“It’s been quite some time since the compilation (of the current charter), and the global situation has changed,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said.
The new charter is expected to call for ODA expansion and enhancement of economic security.
In the Indo-Pacific region, China is boosting its influence by expanding its assistance to developing countries.
The new charter is set to call for utilizing ODA programs strategically in a bid to strengthen Japan’s relations with Southeast Asian countries and Pacific island nations.
Japan earmarked an ODA budget 561.2 billion yen for fiscal 2022 from April, less than half of the peak of 1,168.7 billion yen in fiscal 1997.
In the field of economic security, the government will aim to strengthen supply chains to secure stable supplies of strategic goods, such as semiconductors.
Japan also plans to make international contributions in health and medical fields as a key element of its diplomatic strategy after providing humanitarian assistance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.