Official Development Assistance (ODA)

March 8, 2015

"New Aid Charter upholds policy"

The Feb.20 editorial "Aid that could foment conflict" misrepresents Japan's new Development Cooperation Charter and does not accurately reflect the position of the Government of Japan.

The new charter upholds Japan's policy of contributing to global peace and prosperity through nonmilitary cooperation-a policy Japan has maintained through 60 years of Official development assistance (ODA). As in its previous charters, Japan maintains the principle to avoid providing aid for military purposes, or for involvement in conflict.

There are cases, however, where ODA for nonmilitary purposes such as public welfare or disaster-relief efforts can be considered, and when members of recipient countries armed forces would be involved.

In the past, Japan has provided ODA to recipient countries in this manner. For example, Japan provided support for the rehabilitation of the maternal unit at a military hospital in Senegal that helps civilians.

Contrary to the editorial's claims, it is clear the new Development Cooperation Charter neither changes nor undermines the current position of the government on assistance to armed forces for nonmilitary purposes.

The editorial also fails to recognize the positive and practical aspects of the charter, namely that the forces of recipient countries can play an important role in civilian activities, and that cooperation with the military is sometimes essential in order to effectively deal with large-scale challenges such as natural disasters or public health crises.

In this respect, we would highlight the contribution made by U.S. Forces in "Operation Tomodachi" after the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, for which Japan is grateful.

Of course, assistance involving military forces, as in all other projects, will continue to require careful consideration, and we must ensure the appropriate use of ODA.

As in the past, the government will consider aid on a case-by-case basis, assessing the objectives, recipients, activities and possible impact, as well as the development needs of the country or region. Issues such as governance, bilateral relations and economic and social issues will also be considered.

If necessary, the government will request written assurances from the recipient government regarding the use of aid. As in all other ODA projects, Japan will oversee the process closely to ensure the proper use of its contributions, with the cooperation of the recipient government.

Japan will continue to make every effort to ensure that our nonmilitary principle is upheld.

Furthermore, Japan has no intention of using ODA to "counter" the influence of other countries, as the editorial suggests. Rather, the new charter stresses the importance of partnerships with donors, emerging countries and other actors.

In addition, there are countries that have attained a certain level of per capita income but still require Japan's expertise to respond to complex challenges such as energy conservation.

To address there challenges, Japan will consider appropriate assistance, such as technical cooperation, on a cost-share basis. The new Development Cooperation Charter will continue to embody Japan's sincere aspirations for the peace and prosperity of the international community, consistently pursued throughout the last 60 years of ODA contributions.

As such, it is an unfair misrepresentation to describe the new charter as something that could "foment conflict".

Ken Okaniwa
Deputy Press Secretary
Japanese Foreign Ministry

Back to Development Cooperation CharterBack to Official Development Assistance (ODA)