Naoki Nihei, Central Asia and the Caucasus Division, JICA
Iio Akitoshi, Ex-JICA ODA Loans Advisor (Central Asia Region) / Project Formulation Advisor, JICA Ethiopia Office
Ryota Saito, Ph.D. candidate of Graduate school of Humanities and Social sciences in University of Tsukuba
This is an original article.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited five Central Asian countries in October 2015. This was the second Japanese Prime Minister to have visited this region since the former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visit to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in 2006. Soon after the collapse of USSR, the Government of Japan started provision of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for this region, and in 1997, Japan developed the concept of ‘Eurasian Diplomacy’ which clearly defined Japan’s engagement in the region. After the event that took place on September 11, international interest in the region increased and the dialogue called ‘Central Asia plus Japan’ started in 2004. The state of International relations in this region such as Chinese diplomatic policy, ‘One Belt, One Road’, leveraged Japanese diplomacy to make its next step in regards to Central Asia. This article overviews Japan’s approach towards Central Asia and analyzes the current situation of development and international relationships in Central Asia. We, contributors of this article, expect that the Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Central Asian countries will renew the Japanese diplomacy toward Central Asia and strengthen the relationships between Japan and Central Asia. With broader regional interest for peace and stability, it is important for Japan to continue providing assistance to support both infrastructure and human development and continue strengthening its cooperation with various stakeholders in the region for the purpose of quality growth of Central Asia.