Official Development Assistance (ODA)

Disaster Reduction

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Last Updated: November 19, 2007

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Japan's Action


Utilizing the know-how acquired from its own disaster experiences, Japan has been playing an active role in disaster reduction efforts in the international community by providing a significant contribution to emergency aid and assisting other countries in their efforts to promote disaster reduction and prevention through:
(1) Multilateral cooperation through international organizations
(2) Promotion of cooperation within the Asian region
(3) Bilateral cooperation through ODA

In Japan, disaster management efforts are carried out at various levels utilizing the knowledge, technology and a culture of disaster reduction which has been fostered through extensive experience caused by a multitude of disasters. In recent years, it has come to be globally recognized that natural disasters can seriously interfere with "human security" by hindering development efforts and the accomplishment of sustainable development.


To prepare for any such disasters and mitigate the impact, and apart from improving and organizing the equipment and supplies required for emergency relief operations, wide ranging efforts are required to transform society as a whole into a resilient structure with a lower risk factor. Along with the mainstreaming of disaster reduction into development plans and projects at both national and local levels, it is essential to promote other efforts including disaster prevention education programs and the development of disaster-resilient communities. In addition to implementing disaster prevention efforts, it is necessary to prepare for emergency relief operations. Even during the reconstruction phase, however, it is necessary to take appropriate measures to halt the vicious cycle of disaster by taking the risk reduction perspective into account.

Making the maximum use of empirical knowledge and technology that Japan has fostered in the broader sense of disaster reduction, Japan has been providing extensive contributions by assisting other countries through:
(1) Multilateral cooperation through international organizations
(2) Promotion of cooperation within the Asian region
(3) Bilateral cooperation through ODA

At the World Conference on Disaster Reduction, which was held in Kobe in January 2005, the Government of Japan announced the basic policy and approach for international cooperation on disaster reduction with the launch of the "Initiative for Disaster Reduction through Official Development Assistance (ODA)". This stated that Japan would continue to support developing countries' efforts under the theme of "Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disaster" through institution building, human resources development, and the development of a social and economic infrastructure. At the Asian-African Summit Meeting, which took place in Indonesia in April 2005, Japan announced that it would provide more than US$2.5 billion over the next five years in assistance for disaster prevention and mitigation, and reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in Asia, Africa and other regions. Expectations towards Japan's initiatives and active roles in the field of disaster management have continued to increase in the international community.

ODA Policy on Disaster Prevention

- The Framework Featured in ODA Charter and Mid-term Policy (Extracts)

Japan's Official Development Assistance Charter (August, 2003)

3. Priority Issues
(3) Addressing Global Issues
As for global issues such as global warming and other environmental problems, infectious diseases, population, food, energy, natural disasters, terrorism, drugs, and internationally organized crimes, further efforts must be given immediately and in a coordinated manner by the international community. Japan will address these issues through ODA and will play an active role in the creation of international norms.

Japan's Medium-Term Policy on ODA (February, 2005)

3. Priority Issues
(1) Poverty Reduction
ii. Approach to Poverty Reduction and Specific Actions
(b) Direct Assistance to the Poor
(iii) Protection from Sudden Threats
As the poor tend to be highly vulnerable to threats such as economic crises; social problems such as drugs and crime; and natural disasters, it is important to protect the poor against such threats and strengthen their ability to withstand such threats. For this purpose, Japan will assist in establishing "safety nets" for the poor, such as relief measures for the unemployed, nutritional improvement programs and delivery of social services. With respect to the disaster caused by the major earthquake off the coast of Sumatra and the tsunami in the Indian Ocean that occurred in December 2004, Japan will promote cooperation in the area of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis in a comprehensive and coherent manner based on the Initiative for Disaster Reduction through ODA. Japan provides assistance for policy proposals, institution building, human resources development and a steady implementation of the plans that are necessary for making disaster prevention an integral part of national policy, city planning and rural planning. In addition, Japan will also make efforts to rapidly deliver assistance to disaster victims in the aftermath of a disaster and to reduce the vulnerability to disasters of the poor by ending the vicious circle of disaster and poverty during the reconstruction phase.

(3) Addressing Global Issues
i. Japan's Position on Addressing Environmental Problems and Natural Disasters
(a) Ensuring that developments are compatible with the environment and promoting sustainable development are challenges that the entire world faces. Progressing global warming, severe environmental pollution accompanying economic growth in developing countries, and the rapid deterioration of the natural environment against a background of population growth and poverty, threaten the lives of people in developing countries. In order to solve these environmental problems, broad-reaching and coherent action is required. Disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis continue to threaten human life and economic and social development for a period following the immediate aftermath. Therefore it is essential to support self-help efforts by developing countries and to take coherent measures corresponding to each phase of the disaster including emergency response, reconstruction and prevention.

(b) Japan will actively address environmental problems and natural disasters by making use of its ODA based on initiatives such as the Environmental Conservation Initiative for Sustainable Development (EcoISD), the Kyoto Initiative, and the Initiative for Disaster Reduction through ODA.

iii. Approach to Addressing Environmental Problems and Specific Actions

iv. Approach to Addressing Disasters and Specific Actions
Japan will cope with disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis through a similar approach to that mentioned above by utilizing its own experiences, technology (including scientific technology related to observation) and human resources in which it has an international comparative advantage.

- Initiatives & Funding Commitment

Initiatives for Disaster Reduction through ODA (January 2005)
  - Summary (Japanese / English (PDF, 56KB))
  - Full text (Japanese / English (PDF, 154KB))

Good Practices on Disaster Prevention

Assistance to Indonesia after the 2006 Earthquake

In May 2006, extensive damage and more than 5,700 death casualties were caused by a large-scale earthquake in Central Java in the Republic of Indonesia. The Government of Japan provided assistance utilizing lessons learned from Japan's past experiences in post-disaster assistance and recognizing the importance of seamless assistance for emergency relief to the recovery and reconstruction. Immediately after the earthquake, the Japan Disaster Relief Team consisting of medical team and Self-Defense Force units were dispatched and emergency relief and assistance goods were distributed, followed by the implementation of an emergency grant. Support included the distribution of tents, blankets and other materials necessary for the period of evacuation, emergency medical treatment of the injured, and establishment of temporary classrooms to enable the resumption of school education. After the initial emergency phase had passed, recovery and reconstruction assistance was provided through the utilization of a Grant Aid for Disaster Prevention and Reconstruction and technical assistance. For example, official resumption of school education was assisted through the distribution of textbooks and other goods upon the reconstruction of school buildings and the training of teachers. The reconstruction of the health center, technical assistance such as the treatment of trauma and rehabilitation assistance were conducted to enhance medical services. Such seamless assistance conducted directly after the disaster has facilitated a steady progress of reconstruction in Bantur in Central Java.


Children studying in classroom tents

Newly established health centre

* Grant Aid for Disaster Prevention and Reconstruction Scheme

Grant Aid for Disaster Prevention and Reconstruction is an assistance scheme that was introduced in FY 2006. Its main objective is to realize seamless assistance from emergency relief to full-scale recovery and reconstruction assistance by introducing program-type aid grant in addition to the existing project-type aid grant. With the program-type aid grant scheme, it is possible to assess damage caused by disasters and provide assistance for the rehabilitation of primary infrastructure such as schools, medical facilities and roads, with consideration to the needs of the disaster affected areas and any changes in such needs.

Source: "Japan's International Cooperation on Disaster Reduction"
(MOFA and Cabinet Office, 2007)

Prevention of Floods in Urban Areas (Tunisia)


Development of effective waterways to prevent floods in urban areas (Photo: JBIC)

Intensive rainfalls often result in flooding in Tunisia which causes extensive damage. To prevent such damage, the Government of Japan decided to extend its assistance to "Flood Protection Project" (FY 1997, approximately 3.130 million Yen) through Japanese ODA loan in response to a request from the Government of the Republic of Tunisia. This project is a counter-flood measure plan in Ariana, situated in the northern Tunis, the capital, and Kairouan, which is the hub of the country's central region. In Ariana, the rehabilitation of existing channels along the Enkhit River is in progress. In Kairouan, flood control channels and river dikes are being constructed for the Merguellil River and the Zeroud River, which flow into the Kairousan Plain that surrounds the city. These efforts have mitigated flood damage and have promoted economic and social development in the targeted areas. In particular, in Kairouan, the project will make it possible for a large area of land that in the past could not be utilized due to flooding, to be used effectively for agricultural purposes.

Source: "Japan's International Cooperation on Disaster Reduction"
(MOFA and Cabinet Office, 2007)

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