Official Development Assistance (ODA)
17. Appreciation and Expectations on Japan's ODA
Japan's ODA tops the world in dollar terms since 1991. As of 1995, a total of 161 countries and regions received Japan's ODA. In 1994, Japan topped the list of donors for 46 countries, and was No. 2 donor for 31 other countries. Thus, Japan's ODA has had no small impact on the nation-building efforts of many developing countries. Japanese aid was traditionally concentrated on building economic infrastructure such as airports, trunk roads, and enhancement of administrative capabilities through human resources development. In recent years, its sphere of cooperation has been expanded to include the core of national administration -- drafting of national development plans, legislation of civil law and other fundamental laws and the improvement of judicial systems.
Top leaders of recipient countries often attend ceremonies marking the completion of Japan's ODA projects to express their appreciation for the Japanese assistance and the Japanese people who support it. Volumes of thank-you words also have been received from villagers and small town residents in developing countries for small-scale support (Grant Aid for Grass-Roots Projects). Thanks to the grass-roots assistance, the residents have been given access to clean drinking water and electricity for the first time in their lives.
The world continues to have expectations on Japanese assistance and is closely watching how it will go forward.
The introductory part of the report of the DAC Review of Japan (in November 1995) states:
"Japan's official development assistance (ODA) programme is undergoing a series of major transitions, and the outcome will have vital impacts on the global effort for development cooperation. ODA has become a central priority for the entire foreign policy of Japan -- a major economic power -- and internationally the country's leadership in volume and advocacy of development co-operation has contributed to maintaining the overall commitment and momentum among the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Members. Support remains strong for ODA in Japan even as domestic claims compete for attention and resources. The question is whether Japan will be able to maintain such growth now that its leading volume position has been secured."