Official Development Assistance (ODA)
Country Assistance Programs


1. What are Country Assistance Programs?

A "Country Assistance Program" is a document which lays down Japan's country-specific aid policy effective for a period of about five years, with a view to further enhancing strategic value, efficiency, transparency and accountability of ODA. In formulating the Country Assistance Program, political and socio-economic situations as well as development strategies and needs of each recipient country are taken into consideration. "Country-based ODA Task Force", comprised mainly of Embassy of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) office in each recipient country, participates in the formulation and revision of the Country Assistance Program, making maximum use of its knowledge and experience obtained at the field level.

2. Background

(1) Introduction of Country Assistance Programs, upon instruction from then Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi at his first Cabinet meeting in July 1998, was decided by an agreement reached at the Bureau Meeting of the Council of Overseas Economic Cooperation-Related Ministers in November 1998 with the aim of "enhancing transparency in the selection of ODA projects."

(2) The revised ODA Charter, approved by the Cabinet in August 2003, states that "in order to ensure that the government in its entirety implements ODA efficiently and effectively in a unified and coherent manner, Country Assistance Programs will be formulated for major recipient countries."

3. Criteria of Selecting Countries

Country Assistance Programs are to be formulated for "major recipient countries" based on the revised ODA Charter (refer to note below). Target countries are selected based on due consideration of the following points.

Examined points are as follows:

  • (1) Amount of aid: total amount of Japan's ODA; balance of resources allocated by assistance schemes;
  • (2) Strategic importance: cooperation with Japan in the international arena, investment and trade relations; political and economic role of the recipient country in the region;
  • (3) Relationship with global development issues: assistance needs related to such issues as poverty, HIV/AIDS, peace building, reconstruction, and governance;
  • (4) Regional balance: regional balance to be considered while putting priority on Asia;
  • (5) New trends in the recipient country: trends in aid coordination, etc.

Note: the relevant passage from the ODA Charter (Ⅲ.1.(1)) (Approved by the Cabinet on August 29, 2003):

"In order to ensure that the government in its entirety implements ODA efficiently and effectively in a unified and coherent manner pursuant to this Charter, medium-term ODA policies and country assistance programs will be formulated, taking into account the partnership and collaboration with the international community referred to in the Basic Policies and ODA policies will be formulated and implemented in accordance with them. Country assistance programs will be drawn up for major recipient countries, and will set out explicitly the points to which priority is to be given, based on Japan's aid policy, and reflecting the recipient countries' true assistance needs."

4. Major Contents of Country Assistance Programs

  • Current conditions and problems of development in the country
  • Development plans and strategies of the country
  • Significance of Japan's economic cooperation to the country
  • Goals of Japan's economic cooperation
  • Priority areas and issues
  • Specific points to be considered in implementation phases, etc.