Official Development Assistance (ODA)
Japan's ODA Annual Report (Summary) 1998

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Why is ODA necessary?

International peace and prosperity are essential for any country as dependent as Japan has become on foreign markets and resources. Official development assistance (ODA) helps foster that peace and prosperity in a world that is growing ever more interdependent.

As a peace-loving nation, Japan has a mission to assume a role commensurate with its economic capability to help sustain world peace and work in the interest of international prosperity. Half a century ago, immediately after the last world war, Japan lay almost in ruins. And lest anyone forget, it should be pointed out that foreign aid helped Japan rebuild and lay the foundations for the prosperity it enjoys today. The Fourth Kurobe Dam and the Tomei and Meishin Expressways stand out as leading examples of infrastructure projects that were funded by loans from the World Bank.

Guided by the above perspective, Japan has chosen to provide official development assistance in keeping with several fundamental viewpoints, as follows.

  • Many people in the developing world today still suffer from conditions of malnutrition and extreme poverty. From a humanitarian vantage point, the international community cannot ignore their plight.
  • Environmental problems, population pressures, and food shortages count as challenges for all humankind. It accordingly seems imperative that the industrialized and developing worlds work together to address them. Moreover, as a major industrial power, Japan should assume a leadership role in that drive.
  • Providing aid to the developing world and working on global issues can be expected to earn Japan better ties with other countries, particularly in the developing world, bolster its stature in the eyes of the international community, and contribute to broader global understanding of and support for Japan and its people.
  • In a world that has been brought closer together by trends in trade and investment, and as a country heavily dependent on the rest of the world--and particularly many developing countries--for its own supplies of resources, energy, and food, Japan stands to gain in economic terms by utilizing aid to promote economic progress throughout the developing world.

Cover photo: A Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer working on assignment in Senegal as a midwife. Winner of the FY 1994 JICA-sponsored International Cooperation Photo Contest "Its okey. Don't be Afraid." (Photo by Mr. Shunsuke Imai)