Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2005

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Japan built the foundation for the present economic development with its own efforts, while receiving assistance from other countries during the postwar reconstruction period. Taking such experiences into consideration, Japan has extended Official Development Assistance (ODA) for over half a century to countries that are trying to stand on their own feet even though they struggle through hunger, poverty, and other various hardships.

By promoting economic and social development within developing countries, ODA contributes to the stability of the entire international community. ODA is also deeply linked to Japan's own interests that enjoys the benefits of international trade and is heavily dependent on the outside world for resources, energy, and food. Regarding the cross border issues that have serious impacts on people's lives, including environmental problems, the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), conflicts, and terrorism, efforts for resolving these issues by utilizing ODA are greatly beneficial to Japan as well. For Japan, which aspires for world peace, actively promoting efforts with ODA for the development of developing countries, and manifesting this posture both at home and abroad are the most suitable policies for gaining sympathy and support from the international community.

Based on this philosophy, Japan has contributed to the socioeconomic development of developing countries as one of the world's largest ODA contributors, responsible for providing approximately one-fifth of the total amount of the world's ODA from 1990 to 2004.

There remains, however, many challenges to be tackled, such as the poverty issues with over 1.1 billion people around the world. With these circumstances in mind, the international community has strengthened its efforts for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which present specific quantitative objectives to be achieved by 2015 on the development issues faced by developing countries. At the United Nations (UN) Summit in September 2005, it was confirmed that the entire world would step up its efforts to achieve the MDGs.

Japan intends to actively contribute to achieving the MDGs. From this perspective, Japan will strive to realize a strategic expansion of its ODA volume in order to ensure a credible and sufficient level of ODA. In this context Japan intends to increase its ODA volume by US$10 billion in aggregate over the next five years. Japan will also double its ODA to Africa, which is said to be the last region to achieve the MDGs, in the next three years. At the same time, it is essential to enhance the quality of ODA, and Japan intends to further endeavor to ensure that its ODA will be even more effective by strengthening the aid implementation system, increasing public participation, and facilitating evaluations.

This year's ODA White Paper features the MDGs and explains Japan's efforts and approaches toward achieving MDGs. It also gives a general report on Japan's ODA in FY2004 including new developments in aid policy. I would be pleased if this ODA White Paper could further deepen your understanding of Japan's ODA and win even greater support from all of you.

October 2005
Machimura Nobutaka Minister for Foreign Affairs