The Japan’s ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Abe, conservative or right-wing, entirely won the sneak raid general election. The coalition dominates two-third of the Lower House. Albeit voter turnout fell to a record-low 52%, and the coalition represents only two-third of them, they can now slip bills through without consents of other parties except for important bills requiring referendum.
Their manifesto clearly mentions the future direction of Japan’s aid. How will Japan contribute to international development? The key message of the party’s manifesto is that:
“Japan will modify the Overseas Development Assistance Charter with more focus on Japan’s national profits, and assertively and strategically use ODA to contribute to international development (Liberal Democratic Party (2014) Manifesto).”
Further details are available from LDP (2014) J File – Policy Lists. Here is some key statements on ODA.
- We recognise ODA as an essential tool for diplomacy.
- We will establish the new ODA policy to ensure national profits through working on peace, security and prosperity for the international society.
- With this condition (linked to national profits), we will contribute 0.7% of GNI to ODA to build up good relationship with developing countries.
- In particular, we will promote Japanese private companies including SMEs and local governments to accelerate overseas operations, export infrastructure and acquire natural resources. For this purpose, we will strategically use ODA (including grant assistance, technical assistance, lending scheme and overseas investment scheme).
- The strategic use of ODA for Japan’s profit will sphere emerging economies to Japan’s economic growth.
- We will aim to build up the favourable international environment for Japan through assistance in legislation, human rights (e.g. rule of law, women rights), good governance.
- As part of our contribution to peace and security, we will assist developing countries in capacity development addressing security enforcement, anti-terrorism, international public goods (e.g. marine, space, cyber).
- We will promote activities to address Universal Health Coverage (UHC), communicable diseases, gender equity, women empowerment, water and sanitation, natural resources, and food security, MDGs, the post-2015 agenda, and the post Kyoto Protocol.
It is a huge shift of Japan’s ODA direction. If I would summarise my view in one sentence, it is pity if Japan would not put poverty reduction as the major objective of ODA policy.
If anybody has a comment, we welcome to share your view to Japan’s aid.