Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2005

Main Text > Part II ODA DISBURSEMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2004 > Chapter 2 Details and New Policies about Japan's ODA: Striving for Further ODA Reforms > Section 2. Measures for Each of the Priority Issues > 4. Peace-building

4. Peace-building

Since the end of the Cold War, the international community has seen many hostilities rooted in ethnic, religious, or historical differences in many parts of the world, leading to numerous regional and domestic conflicts. The majority of victims who suffer under such conflicts are common citizens including children. Such conflicts also produce a great number of refugees and displaced persons, causing humanitarian issues and human rights violations. Moreover, conflicts instantaneously destroy many achievements gained through years of development efforts, causing massive economic loss. Since peace and stability are prerequisites to development, peace-building is important in achieving the MDGs, common goals for development in the international community.

As the contributing factors and types of conflicts change, the international community has come to realize that it is to not only necessary to use political means such as Peacekeeping Operations ( PKO ), dispatch of coalition forces, and preventative diplomacy and arbitration as a way to prevent or resolve conflicts, but also to put up comprehensive efforts that include post-conflict nation building. As such, the role played by development assistance toward peace-building is gaining recognition.

Against this background, Japan announced its "Action from Japan on Conflict and Development" in July 2000, and expressed its intent to provide comprehensive ODA assistance in series to help reduce damages caused at each level in the cycle of conflict, from conflict prevention to emergency humanitarian aid, reconstruction and rehabilitation assistance, and prevention of recurrence of conflicts. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced in his policy speech delivered in Sydney in May 2002 that Japan would "strengthen cooperation for the consolidation of peace and nation building in countries suffering from conflict. This policy has become a new pillar of Japan's international cooperation," expressing the determination to put forth more active efforts, including ODA, in the area of peace-building.

Bearing these developments in mind, the ODA Charter sets peace-building as a priority issue, stating the intention to provide flexible and continuous assistance, along with preventing conflicts and supplying emergency humanitarian assistance, ranging from assistance to expedite the end of conflicts to post-conflict consolidation of peace and nation-building. According to the New Medium-Term Policy on ODA based on the ODA Charter, the purpose of peace-building is "to prevent the occurrence and recurrence of conflicts, alleviate the various difficulties that people face during and immediately after conflicts, and subsequently achieve long-term stable development." It lays out specific approaches and efforts in implementing assistance and states that Japan will cooperate with international organizations, other donor countries, the domestic private sector and NGOs to provide active assistance so that people may feel their "dividends of peace" and so that peace and stability will be realized in a society.

Furthermore, because mutual interdependence has deepened in the international community, the peace and stability of the world now directly influences the safety and prosperity of Japan. Based on this awareness, the "National Defense Program Guideline, FY 2005-," which was formulated in December 2004, states, "In order to improve the international security environment and help maintain security and prosperity of Japan, the Government of Japan will actively engage in diplomatic efforts, including the strategic use of Official Development Assistance ( ODA )," under the sub-heading "4. Cooperation with the International Community" of the heading "III. Basic Principles of Japan's Security Policy."

Japan has thus far taken specific measures for peace-building in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Cambodia, Kosovo, Timor-Leste, Palestine, and others, and will continue to actively put forth efforts in this area through the use of ODA.