Official Development Assistance (ODA)

50 Years of Japan's ODA
1977-1991
Systematic Expansion Period
Japan announced five consecutive medium-term targets of ODA covering the years from 1977 to 1991, under which the country increased its ODA and diversified it for geographical distribution.

1977-1991
The payment of reparations was completed and Japan's ODA grew in magnitude and coverage throughout the world
Japan's ODA advanced into a completely new era in July 1976 when the payment of reparations was completed with final remuneration paid to the Philippines. Since the country achieved significant levels of economic development, Japan realized that Japan is in a position to promote economic cooperation for developing countries from its own standpoint.

    In 1978, Japan announced a plan to double its ODA in three years in the First Medium-Term Target of ODA. With the pledge of the first target, Japan's ODA dramatically grew in magnitude from the late 1970s throughout the 1980s. Japan became the third largest donor country among the DAC members in 1983 and the second largest in 1986.

    With this growth in magnitude, Japan's ODA further developed, introducing new programs, such as Disaster Relief in 1973, Grant Aid for Cultural Activities in 1975, and Aid for Increasing Food Production in 1977. Moreover, Japan started providing loans in coordination with the World Bank's structural adjustment facility.

    The OECF introduced environmental impact assessment guidelines in 1989, which dealt with how economic development could be promoted while caring for the environment and human rights. [With its negative experience in radical industrialization, Japan strengthened its support for tackling environmental issues in the course of economic growth in developing countries.]

    In this period, the geographical distribution of Japan's ODA became diversified, giving larger shares to a variety of regions other than Asia, including the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and the Pacific. The Middle East in particular had high priority in Japan's ODA, encouraged by the First Oil Shock in 1973. In 1972, only 0.8% of Japan's ODA was provided to the Middle East. However, its share jumped to 24.5% in 1977.


Five Consecutive Medium-Terms Targets of ODA
The first medium-term target of ODA
(Established in July 1978; The term covers 1978-1980)
ODA in 1977, amounting to US$1.42 billion, should be doubled by 1980.
The second medium-term target of ODA
(Established in January 1981; The term covers 1981-1985)
Total ODA from 1981 to 1985 should be more than double the amount from 1976 to 1980 (amounting to US$10.68 billion).
The third medium-term target of ODA
(Established in September 1985;The term covers 1986-1992)
The total ODA from 1986 to 1992 should be more than US$40 billion (To achieve this goal, ODA in 1992 should be double the amount in 1985, amounting to US$3.8 billion).
The fourth medium-term target of ODA
(Established in June 1988; The term covers 1988-1992)
Total ODA from 1988 to 1992 should be double the amount from 1983 to 1987, amounting to US$ 50 billion.
The fifth medium-term target of ODA
(Established in June 1993; The term covers 1993-1997)
Total ODA from 1993 to 1997 should be about US$70 to 75 billion.


Trend of Japan's bilateral ODA in geographical distribution

Trend of Japan's bilateral ODA in geographical distribution

Expansion of assistance for the field of Basic Human Needs
With the disappointing results of economic development in many developing countries in the mid-1960s, the World Bank and the IMF proposed that the field of Basic Human Needs (BHN) should receive higher priority in global aid. This encouraged international cooperation activities to become focused on issues of poverty in developing countries than those of economic development.

    With the new trend in global aid, Japan announced its support in the field of BHN. Japan's share of ODA for BHN had been more or less 10% until 1977. In 1978, it rose to 23%, and the share has remained between 20 and 30% each year since then.

As part of Japan's aid in BHN, a new water-well was drilled in a rural village in Guinea.
As part of Japan's aid in BHN, a new water-well was drilled in a rural village in Guinea.


Movement toward the formulation of ODA philosophies
In 1978 and 1980, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs completed its study papers on the significance of Japan's ODA and clarified its philosophies. Among the philosophies included were that ODA is conducted based on international responsibility and humanitarian standpoints; that ODA is Japan's single most important tool for contributing to further development of peace and stability in the international community; that for benefit of the country's continued economic development, it is critically important for Japan, a small country that lacks natural resources, to maintain friendly ties with developing countries that have interdependent relationships with Japan.

    These philosophies are the basis of the ODA Charter introduced in 1992 and the "new" ODA Charter revised in 2003.

Japan became the top donor among the DAC member countries
A prominent Japanese newspaper reports in 1989 that Japan has become the largest donor country in the world.
A prominent Japanese newspaper reports in 1989 that Japan has become the largest donor country in the world.
Japan had been increasing its ODA based on the first to the fourth medium-term target of ODA and became the top donor in the world, surpassing the United States in magnitude in 1989.

    Japan provided the world largest ODA in magnitude from 1991 to 2000, dominating approximately 20% of the total ODA provided by all the DAC member countries, while the total amount was showing a downward trend throughout the 1990's.

Assistance for grassroots projects started
With medical equipment purchased by Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects, a medical staffer of an NGO in Bangladesh conducts medical examinations.
With medical equipment purchased by Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects, a medical staffer of an NGO in Bangladesh conducts medical examinations.
Japan started assistance for grassroots projects on a relatively small but practical scale in the late 1980s, in response to developing countries' diversified needs for socioeconomic development. In 1989, a Small-scale Grant Assistance Scheme, which supported non-profit organizations (NGOs, local governments, schools and hospitals), contributing to their grassroots level development projects, and a NGO Subsidy System started.

    With the grant assistance scheme, grassroots projects, which used to be too small in size for the application of Japan's ODA, could be widely supported in the framework of ODA.

    Such grassroots projects could deliver their support directly to the people in the field. Also, the projects were conducted with efficient and effective support from Japan's diplomatic establishments abroad, which had ample knowledge of the local situations, minimizing time for the required procedures to implement them. This make the grant assistance schemes highly appreciated.

    The grant assistance scheme was further developing year after year and was renamed Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects in 1995. In 2003, the grant assistance was reinforced with a further reflection of the concept of "human security" and has been in progress under the new name Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects, empowering various non-profit organizations working for international cooperation.


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    Contents
[Japan's ODA: Accomplishment of 50 Years]
Japan's ODA Contributing to World Development...4
East Asia's Economic Development and Japan's ODA...5
Japan's Contribution in Human Resource Development...6
[Progress of 50 Years of ODA]
System Development Period (1954-1976)...8
Systematic Expansion Period (1977-1991)...10
Policy and Philosophy Enhancement Period (1992-2002)...12
(Original ODA Charter Period)
Meeting the Challenges of a New Era (2003-Present)...14
(Revised ODA Charter)