Official Development Assistance (ODA)
16. Broader Participation of the Public -- Supporting NGO Activities

Assistance to developing countries undertaken by NGOs and local governments significantly supplements the regular ODA which is carried out between the central governments. The personnel interchange promoted at the grass-roots level contributes to furthering friendly bilateral relations. It should also be noted that people who take part in such activities can gain experiences, through which people will deepen their understanding of the importance of helping developing nations.

(1) NGO Activities and Government's Support

Recognizing the significance of NGO activities, the Government of Japan inaugurated "NGO Project Subsidy System" in FY 1989 to encourage Japan's NGO activities through financial support. In April 1996, the NGOs-MOFA Quartery Meeting was established for the purpose of exchanging views on ways to promote government-NGOs collaboration. Through such an exchange of opinions with NGOs, the Ministry is ready to further improve its NGO support mechanisms.

Photo (Japanese NGO members teach dental hygiene to children of Vanuatu)

(2) International Cooperation by Local Governments and ODA

International cooperation activities by local governments are unique reflecting their different characteristics and historical and cultural background. In FY 1995, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs inaugurated a local government subsidy system to financially support activities by local governments. In addition, the Ministry has encouraged local governments to send their officials overseas as JICA experts and participate in a policy dialogue with a recipient country, e.g. the Japan-China Comprehensive Forum on Environmental Cooperation (see p. 17).

(3) Participation in Aid as Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers

Under the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) program being promoted by JICA, young Japanese people, between 20 and 39 years old, are recruited widely from all over the country. In developing countries, they work closely with local residents for economic and social development. The JOCV project is highly appreciated, both at home and abroad, as the Volunteers have been extensively instrumental in technology transfer to and promotion of friendly relations with developing countries. The JOCV also contributes to educating the Japanese young generation on a wide range of international affairs.

Chart 18 Collaboration between Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Local Governments