Official Development Assistance (ODA)
(1) Basic Approaches of Japan's ODA (philosophy and principles)

(a) Basic Philosophy

At a Cabinet meeting on June 30, 1992, the Japanese government adopted the ODA Charter. The Charter is a document that reflects a new perspective on the world changed since the end of the Cold War. It was drawn up in light of the results Japan had achieved through the experiences gained in the course of the implementation of ODA programmes over the past 40 years. As such, it is a statement of Japan's ODA policy in a comprehensive way covering basic philosophy, principles and priority areas from a long-term perspective. At its outset, the Charter set forth the following four points as the basic philosophy of Japan's ODA.

Basic Philosophy of the ODA Charter

1) Humanitarian considerations

2) Recognition of interdependence among nations of the international community

3) Environmental conservation

4) Support for self-help efforts of recipient countries

(b) The Four Principles of the ODA Charter

Along with this basic philosophy, the principles constituting the core of the ODA Charter are described in the following (hereinafter referred to as "the Four Principles"):

Four Principles of the ODA Charter

1) Compatibility between preservation of the environment and development

2) Avoidance of the use of ODA funds for military purposes and for purposes liable to inflame international conflicts

3) Monitoring of military spending of developing countries, their activities of developing and producing weapons of mass destruction, and the export or import of weapons

4) Monitoring of activities for the promotion of democratization in developing countries, and their efforts to introduce a market-oriented economy and protect basic human rights and freedoms of their citizens

Below, basic ideas on the Four Principles are illustrated.

1) The Importance of Judgement through a Comprehensive Approach

Management of the "Four Principles" is reviewed in a comprehensive way, taking into account various aspects of diplomatic consideration. It would be inappropriate to establish uniform standards and apply them automatically since the international environment in which developing countries are placed and the economic and social backgrounds of these countries are different from one country to another. To be more concrete, it is necessary to evaluate a given case from broader perspectives by taking into account not only the situation in a recipient country in relation to the Four Principles, but also the government's stance, its policy, political and economic relations with Japan and the international environment surrounding it.

2) Need for Careful Observation

Each item of the Four Principles deals with events closely related to the security and political issues of recipient countries. The Principles should not be achieved by the initiative of Japan. Instead, the self-awareness and endeavour of the developing countries are essential. Therefore, when problems contravening the principles occur in a recipient country, it is important not to reflect them immediately in the cooperation, but to investigate the facts, then to express Japan's concern and propose measures to improve the situation. It would be necessary to listen carefully to the explanation of the recipient country and have a dialogue with the country so that it may become aware of the problems and take remedial measures on its own. The Japanese approach is to work tenaciously on the recipient country toward achieving the goal through "friendly persuasion" and "quiet and patient diplomacy." It would be practical to see the development of the event from a longer-term perspective.

3) Two Approaches to the Management of the Four Principles

The approaches are categorized into two: negative linkage and positive linkage. The former is an approach whereby the aid policy toward a recipient country is reviewed when a situation undesirable in light of the Four Principles takes place in such country. The latter is one whereby Japan actively assist the country which shows signs of improvement in such areas as democratization, human rights and restraints over military expenditure. The negative linkage may incur a repulsion from the developing country concerned and retard the movement for improvement. Therefore, the positive linkage is considered to be a more practical and efficient approach.

4) The Importance of Giving Consideration to Humanitarian Aid

Suspension of aid to a developing country under the Four Principles is not necessarily intended to bring economic and social hardships to the poor people of the developing country. Therefore, when its aid has to be suspended, Japan excludes emergency and humanitarian aid that benefits the people of the country at large.