Official Development Assistance (ODA)
4. ODA as an Important Pillar of Japan's International Contribution

(1) Japan's Economic Power

According to OECD statistics for 1996, Japan's GDP is about $4,960 billion which is 22.3% of the total of all OECD member countries and second to that of the U.S. ($6,980 billion, 31.4%). This is greater than the total GDP of all developing countries (about $3,780 billion in 1993) where 80% of the world's population lives.

(2) Japan Moves over to the Side That Supports the International Community

JapanOs economic development was not achieved by its own efforts alone. It was made possible through the strong support provided by the international community, particularly led by the United States. Now that it has amassed great economic power, Japan must move over to the side that supports the international community, taking positive leadership as well as responsibility.

When Japan's historical, political and economic situations are taken into account, ODA, utilizing its economic and technological power, constitutes the most important pillar of Japanese international contribution.

(3) Japan's ODA Performance as a Ratio of GNP

Regarding ODA as the pillar of Japan's international contribution, it is necessary to undertake a share that is commensurate with Japan's economic strength with the understanding of the Japanese public. This, however, does not mean that an excessive burden will be placed on the Japanese people alone. What Japan is required to do is to "undertake a reasonable burden" commensurate with its economic strength.

As a percentage of Japan's GNP which indicates its economic power, Japan's ODA (net disbursement) during the past 20 years has been at around 0.3%. Although the Nordic countries show much higher level, Japan's contribution stands at an average of DAC member countries.

Graph : Chart 4 ODA/GNP Ratios of the DAC Member Countries

Graph : Chart 5 Trend of Japan's ODA/GNP Ratio